Client: Ira Lewis, owner of Wilson’s Bar-B-Q
Client Location: Pittsburgh, PA
CDFI: Neighborhood Community Development Fund
CDFI Service Area: PA
- Small business financing, with support from the Finance Justice Fund
After a fire burned down Wilson’s Bar-B-Q in Pittsburgh in 2019, the family-owned business struggled to find a way to bring back their original restaurant. The building was destroyed, and rebuilding would cost more time, money, and effort than they could afford. All hope seemed lost until a cousin, Ira Lewis, decided to buy the restaurant.
Neighborhood Community Development Fund (NCDF), a local community development financial institution (CDFI), supported the restaurant’s efforts to reopen when the family could not secure funds from traditional lenders. NCDF also provided marketing, technology, and financial management support to help the restaurant become more effective in their operations and in setting and achieving business goals.
Wlison’s Bar-B-Q continues to strengthen the local economy and has hired six full-time and seven part-time staff since reopening. The restaurant also helps strengthen the environment both visually and socially. Even before the fire, customers frequently asked Wilson’s Bar-B-Q to open spots on different sides of town. With their new restaurant now up and running, they are planning for future expansion.
Lewis could not say enough about NCDF and loan officer Miauna Connor: “We would not have been able to pull this off without them. The Fund was patient, they provided technical assistance, general advice, and they simplified the process.”
Well-known and impactful on the Northside of Pittsburgh and beyond, NCDF has provided lending and technical assistance services for over 20 years to small businesses and neighborhood projects.
Are you an OFN member CDFI with a great borrower story to share?
Your client success stories illustrate what it means to deliver opportunity for all. They help OFN demonstrate how CDFIs work to help create good family-wage jobs, decent affordable homes, healthy foods, greener neighborhoods, and so much more.
Find Other CDFIs
Interested in learning more about other CDFIs in your region? Visit OFN’s CDFI Locator.