Pancho Kachingwe founded The Hatch Oakland Bar & Restaurant in 2014 to cater to a booming downtown Oakland. “Everything was self-funded,” he recalls. “It was myself doing the cooking, bartending, cleaning, shopping, everything.” But the business grew fast, and by year two, he had 18 employees.
Pancho’s staff is one of the things that has made The Hatch successful. “My philosophy around hiring people is: you hire local, community first, experience not necessary. It’s more about the right culture fit with what we’re trying to do. Are they going to be hard workers, are they going to be able to communicate with people?”
The Hatch’s customer base continued to grow, and so, in 2016, Pancho sought financing to remodel his space and increase the bar’s capacity. But it wasn’t easy to find an institution that would offer him the capital. “Conventional banks weren’t giving loans at the time, we had tried for about eight months,” he says. “They just didn’t believe in Oakland at the time. Working Solutions, they were the only people that were like, ‘Let’s go for it.'”
Working Solutions provided Pancho with a $50,000 loan, which allowed him to triple The Hatch’s nightly serving capacity. The bar’s community-oriented style resonated with the neighborhood. “I think it’s really important to share space with people. If you’re a nonprofit you can come and use the space for free; if you have a community event that you wanna do, come use the space. Even if it’s just you and your grandma and you want to come to do something, you’re more than welcome to come and use the space,” he says. “We’re a community space first, and a bar and a restaurant second and third.”
One month after his loan funded, Pancho signed on to attend the Working Solutions Legal Audit Clinic, hosted bi-annually by Working Solutions, DLA Piper, and the Association of Corporate Counsel. Pancho firmly believes in the usefulness of this event and thinks that “the legal clinic is a must for every small business.” Pancho joined five other Working Solutions clients and received a private three-hour session with a team of lawyers to discuss everything from employee contracts to leases and intellectual property.
Now, he wants to bring the clinic to more businesses in his neighborhood. “I want to inspire other entrepreneurs. And that’s one of the things that we’re working on in collaboration with people in West Oakland.”