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John Diskin and Rita Capponi, Grand Central Palm Springs

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When John Diskin and Rita M. Capponi moved to Palm Springs with dreams of opening a restaurant, they didn’t imagine the two-year journey they’d take to making that dream a reality. Finally, on November 15, 2018, John and Rita were ready to share Grand Central Palm Springs with the community.

John and Rita found the perfect space to host their restaurant. The building that now houses Grand Central was built in 1936 as a department store called Desmond’s, in the heart of the city and accessible to tourists and locals alike. But the challenges that John and Rita faced to get it in workable condition pushed them to find additional help.

Enter the Coachella Valley Small Business Development Center (SBDC), one of the seven service locations of the Orange County Inland Empire SBDC Network.

“They were phenomenal,” John says. “They were mentors, and really the only true small business support network. Anyone who is considering launching a small business should talk to the SBDC first. They have a wealth of information that can help streamline the process.”

And John and Rita needed that support.

“We wanted the restaurant to feel like an extension of Rita’s dining room so that when you came here, it felt like you were visiting friends or relatives,” explains John.

Expensive Upgrades

Grand Central Palm Springs

The building they chose, though, had considerable issues to contend with – including updating utilities, 80 years of carpet glue, repositioning windows and more. This cost a lot of money, but the SBDC helped secure a loan through an SBA loan program and the County of Riverside’s new revolving loan fund created to help small business owners and entrepreneurs launch and expand their businesses.

Grand Central’s grand opening program included remarks from District 4 Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, City of Palm Springs Mayor Robert Moon, and other area elected officials. If you visit Grand Central, don’t forget to try the waffles!