Microloan Business Spotlight: Noodle Nirvana, A Restaurant with a Conscience

Microloan Business Spotlight: Noodle Nirvana, A Restaurant with a Conscience

Written by Sam Rapoza

The Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) is a long time member of the Friends of the SBA Microloan Program. MACED is local to Kentucky, and partners with people local to the state who like Ms. Suramek, are keen on building upon the strengths of Kentucky and Central Appalachia through sustainable development. A recent example of this work is their help financing the socially and sustainably conscious restaurant Noodle Nirvana.  Mae Suramek, an aspiring restaurateur, was in need startup capital to open her socially conscious restaurant, Noodle Nirvana.

Ms. Suramek had previously worked at Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center, a regional, non-profit organization.  She had been drawn to the field by her desire to do advocacy, education, lobbying, programming, service delivery, but most of her work was focused on fundraising. Her drive to help her community fueled her notion to open her very own restaurant.

Ms. Suramek notes, “I decided to pair my love for cooking my childhood comfort food (noodles) with a business model that partnered with one local non-profit a year.”

In order to fund her restaurant, MACED loaned her $30,000 dollars in total through the Microloan Program. She combined this financing with funds from family members, some of her retirement and through a Kickstarter campaign. MACED funds were used to purchase equipment and fund the build-out of her kitchen. After Noodle Nirvana opened, MACED continued to provide accounting and marking training/services.

In 2016,Noodle Nirvana opened with a mission to be a pro-local food industry restaurant and nonprofit supporter. Every year, Noodle Nirvana will support a different local nonprofit.  Noodle Nirvana will promote the nonprofit by hosting fundraisers group and donate a percentage of its profits to the nonprofit one day a month. The current nonprofit Noodle Nirvana supports is New Opportunities for Women.

MACED’s assistance not only allowed Ms. Suramek to achieve her dream, but help her community.

“In the last 9 months we’ve raised almost $25,000 for the New Opportunity for Women from customer tips and a percentage of proceeds on Giving Tuesday (first Tuesday of the month),” said Suramek. “If you’re lucky, every so often you’ll have a worthy idea fueled by both passion and purpose. Without the tools and support to breathe life into such ideas, they often get filed away and never acted upon. MACED helped breathe life into Noodles Nirvana’s idea to create a different kind of business model. They helped make our passion and purpose a reality.”

To read more about the assistance provided by MACED to entrepreneurs and small businesses, be sure to visit their website.

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