comunidades empoderadas empowered communities community
José y María Gómez, dueños de Juniata Supermarket.

In a world where economic disparities persist and opportunities often seem out of reach for many, organizations like Community First Fund, together with FINANTA, shine as beacons of hope. With a mission dedicated to fostering economic empowerment and revitalizing underserved communities, Community First Fund, together with FINANTA, exemplifies the transformative power of community development finance. And nowhere is this impact more evident than in the success story of Juniata Supermarket. 

In 2003, Jose, his wife, Maria, and business partner, Regis Cabral, moved to Philadelphia and started the Juniata Supermarket Inc. in an area without any fresh food options. They operated this store for 18 years, watching as more and more Latinos moved into the area. They saw the need for a grocery store that would stock the foods they grew up with and provide locally sourced and organic options for the Latinos that lived there.  Yet, like many small businesses, it faced financial challenges. Community First Fund, together with FINANTA, a nonprofit organization and community development financial institution (CDFI), was committed to providing access to capital and resources that are integral to the fabric of their communities, meaning its primary goal is to benefit the community rather than generate profits for shareholders, as a traditional bank would do.  

Communities - comunidades - emprendedoras

Empowering Underserved Communities through Strategic Financing

Community First Fund, together with FINANTA, understands that traditional lending institutions often overlook small businesses in underserved areas, citing risks or lack of collateral. However, they see beyond the barriers, recognizing the potential for positive impact and economic revitalization. Through strategic financing, they empower businesses like Juniata Supermarket to thrive and grow. 

Thanks to Community First Fund together with FINANTA’s financial support, Juniata Supermarket operates a newly constructed 40,000 sq ft grocery store that provides fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats, prepared foods, a bakery, and specialized food options for residents in the community.  

The success of Juniata Supermarket serves as a powerful example of the impact that organizations like Community First Fund, together with FINANTA, can have on underserved communities. By providing access to capital and a network of support, they empower businesses to thrive, create jobs, and drive economic growth. But perhaps even more importantly, they instill a sense of hope and possibility, showing that positive change is not only possible but achievable when communities come together. Part of living and working in a vibrant community means having access to healthy, fresh foods and Juniata Supermarket is the foundation for their community in Philadelphia. 

As we celebrate the triumph of Juniata Supermarket, let’s also recognize the importance of supporting our local businesses. They’re not just economic entities; they’re the lifeblood of our communities, breathing vitality into the places we call home. So, the next time you shop, consider the impact your purchase can have. Together, we can build stronger, more vibrant neighborhoods, one small business at a time. 

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