Betty’s Flowers and Variety Inc., a Brooklyn-based flower shop, is one of the many local businesses that Renaissance is proud to have supported through the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The business, which offers fresh flowers, floral arrangements, and a variety of plants, was established in 2015 by Ms. Zoila Rivera, originally from Ecuador.
Ms. Rivera previously owned a deli, but her interest was piqued when she saw the opportunity to buy a flower shop. It combined her love of flowers and her interest in learning something new.
For over four years following its launch, Ms. Rivera grew her business into a steady presence in its location near the border between Brooklyn’s Bushwick and Queens’ Ridgewood neighborhood. When COVID-19 began affecting businesses in 2020, Betty’s Flowers and Variety Inc. - like even the most seasoned businesses in New York City - faced a steep revenue decline. Ending 2020 with net losses, Ms. Rivera was concerned about the business’ long-term viability.
After learning about Renaissance from an outreach activity conducted in her neighborhood, Ms. Rivera approached us in October 2021 and expressed interest in financing. Our staff identified Ms. Rivera’s business as a good fit for our new Express Impact Loan Program, which offers small working capital loans through an expedited review process to ensure quick access to capital for businesses in need. After receiving individual counseling, Betty’s Flowers received $15,000 in financing, making it one of the first businesses to receive a loan through the program. The loan has helped Ms. Rivera supplement daily operations as the business recovers from COVID-related interruptions. She is also looking forward to changing her signage to make the business more visible now that the city has fully reopened.
Ms. Rivera is now participating in Renaissance’s Local Business Digital Transformation Assistance Program, a 9-month program funded by Wells Fargo to help New York City businesses implement digital solutions. Through the program, she aims to learn how to manage her business online and is receiving design support for her new sign, which will be sure to attract new customers to the business.