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In 2008, Red Hooker Erin Norris wanted to open an eating establishment in her colorful, waterfront neighborhood. It took 5 years and a fortunate meeting with Claudia Fernandez, an officer at the Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union, before Erin was able to make her dream a reality and open Grindhaus in 2013. Erin describes Claudia, whose institution funded her effort, as her ‘savior, the only lender who believed in me’.


Grindhaus survived Superstorm Sandy and other mishaps but had to close during the COVID-19 pandemic. Another fortunate meeting with Claudia led to an introduction to Andrew Flamm, Director of the Pace University Small Business Development Center, and Rawle Brown, a business advisor at the center.


Rawle reviewed a list of all COVID-19 relief options and Erin zeroed in on the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). Erin worked the options ‘like it was my nine to five’ and had one of the first applications submitted for RRF. Erin received the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), programs launched by the US Small Business Administration (SBA).  Erin received an RRF grant of $207,000 as well as a $204,000 low-interest EIDL loan.


Erin was able to reopen for sit-down service in January of 2022. Despite being closed for two years, many former customers remembered the energetic Erin and Grindhaus and have started returning for Grindhaus’s creative meals featuring locally sourced ingredients.

We urge small business owners to seek our guidance when looking to obtain new loans and grants through federal, state, city, and private fund resources. If you have questions about business planning, financing or marketing, make an appointment today for a no-cost advisory session by emailing or visiting our contact page.

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