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Success Story: EDA’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Program Helps Turn a Chocolatier’s Dream into Reality

EDA’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program provides small businesses and entrepreneurs with the gap financing they need to start or expand their businesses.

On October 12, Romeo Chocolates, LLC, celebrated the grand opening of its brick-and-mortar location in Long Beach, California. Founded in 2014, Romeo Chocolates is a micro-batch, artisanal confection line featuring world-sourced chocolate with local influences.

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Chocolatier Romeo Garcia receiving check from Long Beach officials

In 2017, using funds from an EDA-funded RLF, Long Beach provided a $50,000 loan to Romeo Chocolates to provide funds for furniture, equipment, and working capital needs to assist the company expand its operations by establishing a permanent retail location.

Chef Romeo Garcia, a former dean in higher education, discovered a passion for making chocolate while taking recreational cooking classes in San Francisco on the weekends to unwind from a fast-paced career.

As Garcia’s passion for chocolate grew, he decided to take a creative sabbatical and traveled the world to learn more about the art. He enrolled and graduated from Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts and completed the Master Chocolatier Program in Belgium.

Garcia stood out by spreading the art of artisanal chocolate and providing global ingredients that the community had never before experienced.

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Romeo Chocolates’ “Sipping Chocolate”

Because of his local success, he is helping other businesses in the Long Beach area. Garcia often teams up with other local producers and participates in seasonal collaborations with hotels, restaurants, parks, and other pastry shops.

Today, Romeo Chocolates employs two full-time workers and three part-timers. They are hiring more staff for the upcoming holiday season.

To learn more about EDA’s RLF program and to see how others are using these loans to grow their businesses, visit EDA’s website.

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