FACC helps Monte Enterprises expand its footprint
By Corrie Beula Kovacs
The First American Capital Corporation, Inc. (FACC) is a U.S. Department of Treasury CDFI Fund certified Native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), which means that the majority of FACC loan deployment and business management counseling services are delivered to Native American-owned businesses and Tribal Enterprises in Wisconsin. However, the CDFI Fund certification also enables FACC to work with determined Eligible Markets including: (i) a geographic area meeting the requirements set forth in 12 CFR 1805.201(b)(3)(ii), or (ii) individuals that are low-income, African American, Hispanic or Native Hawaiians.
The CDFI Fund's mission is to expand economic opportunity for underserved people and communities by supporting the growth and capacity of a national network of community development lenders, investors, and financial service providers.
The FACC is pleased to have a diverse portfolio including our August featured business — Monte Enterprises, LLC, which is owned by Robert Montemayor. During the past 18 years, he developed relationships with the Wisconsin State Fair. Montemayor operates the Fiesta Cantina booth at the fair. FACC staff members visited him at the fair to celebrate a successful 12-year relationship between Montemayor and the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of WI (AICCW) as well as FACC.
Born in Chicago to parents who were born and raised in Mexico, Robert identifies as a Hispanic person of color. He is also a serial entrepreneur. With his wife Leonor, they own and manage two Hispanic groceries in Milwaukee (Monterrey Market and Monterrey Plaza) and operates three booths at the Wisconsin State Fair (Fiesta Cantina, Mi Linda Cuba and Cigar Lounge.) Robert has many more ideas in the works, including more booth space at the State Fair to expand unique Mexican concepts. All these businesses combined employ well over 100 people.
Talking with Robert, you are immediately and warmly welcomed into his community. His gracious hospitality is evident from the moment you meet his smiling eyes and shake his outstretched hand. Hearing about the relationships Robert has developed at the State Fair and seeing how well he manages his employees, it is easy to see the drive, work ethic and curiosity that helps Robert be so successful in his business endeavors.
When Robert is faced with adversity, he asks “What else is out there? Who can I call? How can I find a new opportunity?” He thrives on the challenge of being a small business owner, embodying the heart and resiliency of entrepreneurship.
Question: How did you first find AICCW-FACC?
Answer: We have a mutual friend, great friend, Jeff Bowman. And Mr. Bowman and I go way back, and he actually introduced me to AICCW and FACC, the lending arm of the Chamber.
Q: How has working with FACC helped you grow your business?
A: Tremendously! Tremendously. Some banks can be a little iffy when it comes down to lending (for the State Fair). You want to buy a building, or you want to expand it, but you don’t own the land so that gets a little weird … so that was a great opportunity for us to utilize FACC as a lending institution.
Q: Is it fair to say that creative financing/lending has helped you grow your business?
A: For sure! Our initial building here was very small, so before we had to bring everything from our grocery store to come here every morning. We had the cooks at our store, probably at about 3 a.m. because we had to prep everything for the day for our stores and the booth. But now we have actually increased our footprint at the fair (and have kitchen space on site now), and that means we have been able to create more opportunities, and more jobs.
Q: What is the best thing about this menu or experience?
A: Well, my wife and I were just actually talking about that! People get to know our food here and then want to know where our restaurant is. We tell them we don’t have a restaurant; we have a grocery store and then we get them to come to one of our two locations for the grocery store.
Q: So, this is like the gateway drug?
A: Oh yeah! Absolutely! Gotta get your taco fix on!
Q: What is your secret ingredient for success?
A: Oh gosh! What can I say? So many secret ingredients, but I think it boils down to having the loyalty from your team. But then again, you also have heart. We are very proud, but we are always looking for the new opportunity with a positive attitude.
Same here, Robert. Same here.