Eric and Jeni Masaki had a business problem—albeit a good one—their Kyoto Japanese Restaurant was so popular, the owners had a hard time meeting customer demand. After a few years of running this successful business, the Masakis decided to expand.
Opening a Mongolian Barbecue had always been a dream of theirs, and as it has lower overhead than a sushi restaurant, this type of dining establishment would make it more affordable to customers like students. This business would also support the community by creating more jobs and support other community businesses by using local, organic ingredients. These benefits solidified their decision to open Masaki’s Mongolian Grill and Sake Bar.
The couple approached several banks for a loan, and despite Kyoto’s success and the couple’s business acumen, the banks stated that they were unable to offer a loans to restaurant enterprises under any circumstance. “Once they typed in the loan application that the financing would be for a restaurant, they said weren’t able to offer us a loan,” said Eric.
During their search for financing, Eric heard about CAMEO member Arcata Economic Development Corporation (AEDC). After applying for financing, they obtained a loan for their new location. To date, the Masakis have hired a full-time chef and two managers, plus an additional ten employees.