Celebrating SNAP & Cedar Coffee

November 6, 2018 by Alena

“This gives a face to what economic development looks like.” Chris Pasterz, Director of Financial Stability for SNAP Financial Access Business Development Service, is beaming with pride and hope having watched, along with the rest of us, the successful launch of Cedar Coffee. Chris’ team at SNAP completed a long and exciting journey supporting Igor and Iryna Anisimov’s dream to open a business in their new home town of Spokane. And we had the great joy of capturing the progress from the beginning of the build out to the grand opening, in a series of three videos for SNAP Financial Access.

Originally from Ukraine, Igor and Iryna wanted to own their own business in the United States, and SNAP started working with them almost three years ago to help them reach that goal. Karen Campbell, Technical Assistance Manager, explained how SNAP gets involved to give entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed with their businesses:

“Success to us is not arbitrary. It has a lot to do with how we assist and mentor and coach and teach people.”

SNAP’s programs of business planning, training and workshops, individual consultations, matched savings, brand building, technology training, and financial consulting helped Igor and Iryna prepare to open Cedar Coffee.

Learning about the community support was one of the greatest impacts of this project, from Goodale & Barbieri realtor, Bob Spooner, who knew Cedar was the right tenant for the space, to the coffee roaster from Roast House Coffee, Deborah di Bernardo, supporting in equipment selection and training, to the staff at SNAP, all of whom were cheerleaders and mentors… the relationships were incredibly powerful to watch in action. SNAP never fails to make meaningful connections with their clients, as they work to support our neighbors in whatever their area of need or ambition.

Igor and Iryna inspired us when they showed that they can build their business through hard work and SNAP’s assistance, “You can start the business in this country. It’s American dream. It’s difficult but possible,” Igor told us. And SNAP will stay partnered with Cedar Coffee as it grows, Karen Campbell assured us, “Through the launch, we’ll be there, and, after the launch, we will be there, for the life of their business.”

Cedar Coffee has all of the tools it needs to thrive, and Chris Pasterz let us know that Cedar Coffee’s success isn’t an isolated incident. “By the end of this year, there will be 50 other businesses like this that we’ve helped to start. There will be 100 new jobs created.” SNAP facilitates entrepreneurs’ path to their dreams of running successful businesses through their training and support programs in addition to helping entrepreneurs secure credit to start businesses.

“SNAP gives us a chance and we jump, ” said Igor. Last week, we had the opportunity to rewatch the video series with the hundreds of other attendees at SNAP’s Ode to Opportunity luncheon event. Igor and Iryna also attended the luncheon, and, after the videos about Cedar Coffee screened, they received a rousing round of applause. They have spent the past year operating a successful coffee shop on Monroe Street between Broadway and College Avenue. It’s clear to us that not only did SNAP give Igor and Iryna Anisimov a chance and they jumped: they also soared.

Stay tuned… another inspiring series with SNAP Financial Access is currently in development!

Alena Schoonmaker

Written By Alena

Alena is a writer, filmmaker, and office coordinator who brings a love of organization and a hatred of gluten to the Rogue Heart team. She volunteers her time at the Spokane International Film Festival as a film programmer and volunteer coordinator, where she enjoys bringing stories by diverse directors and writers about underserved communities to Spokane. Though a major cinephile, she also volunteers with animals at Pawsitive Outreach Spay/Neuter Advocates in Newport.

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