Prior to joining Grameen America, Damaris was a hair stylist. Although she enjoyed the work, she had dreams of starting her own business. “It has always been enjoyable to do things for my family and myself,” she said.
Damaris decided her calling was to open up a family-run restaurant selling her specialty Caribbean and Central American foods. She tried taking out a loan to start her business, but was unable to find one she could afford. That’s why she decided to join Grameen America in 2014. She liked that Grameen America offered a peer support model that allowed her to make connections with fellow women business owners in her community in Boston.
She used her first loan of $1,500 to begin making purchases for her restaurant. Now, just two years later, Damaris is on her 5th loan and has borrowed almost $14,000 from Grameen America. With each loan, she reinvests back into her business to grow her inventory and purchase new appliances.
Damaris’s restaurant, Sabor de Mi Tierra, is the definition of a family-run small business. Along with one part-time employee, Damaris’s two children help her out each day to keep up with the growing demand. Her daughter Diana is her assistant who makes deliveries and takes orders. Her son Brian manages the early morning shopping runs.
Damaris says, “Grameen America is important because it is the only place where I could get an affordable loan and meet regularly with other members of my community that are also trying to move forward with their businesses.”