Candelaria Eatery & Cafe

Candelaria Eatery and Cafe

Starting, owning, and growing a small business – and serving as the “chief decision maker” – does not have to be a lonesome or daunting endeavor. The most successful entrepreneurs and small business owners proactively seek resources and assistance that support and empower their efforts. When Javier Garcia and Angelica Moncada – owners of Candelaria Eatery & Café, a new Colombian fusion restaurant in Oxford, FL – were faced with the challenges that the hospitality industry often presents while starting a new restaurant, they quickly recognized that they needed guidance and turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) office in Sumter County for help.

Garcia and Moncada came to the U.S. from Colombia on an investment visa with the plan to invest in a new restaurant and decided to start Candelaria Eatery & Café. It offers a fusion of Colombian and American cuisine in a brand-new, fresh, and modern space specializing in fresh ingredients that are cooked to order. They grind the beef for their burgers themselves daily and their classic rice & beans are homemade. “We want to introduce people to Colombian flavors and specialties in a unique space,” explains Angelica, “while offering familiar American dishes as well. Our lemonade is made to each individual’s taste; our coffee is 100% original Colombian; and we have Colombian bites that we make from scratch every day.”

While they owned restaurants and businesses in Colombia, this new venture was Garcia’s and Moncada’s first experience starting a business in the United States. “The restaurant industry is not an easy one,” states Javier, “so we didn’t hesitate to contact the FSBDC and its Sumter County consultant Jamie Mead because we needed as much information and help as we could get.” Continued Moncada, “we tried to do it ourselves at the beginning, searching the internet about how to start a business, but it was so difficult. The licenses, the permits, the taxes, the registrations were just so much that we needed guidance.”

Mead provided Garcia and Moncada with the FSBDC’s no cost consulting services and assisted them with navigating all of the necessary business start-up steps. This included discussion of state and county licensing requirements and applications; educating them about sales tax, workers compensation, payroll taxes, and income taxes; preparation of a business plan, conducting market research, and elements of human resources planning and hiring.

“It’s a long and hard path to walk through,” recalls Javier, “so thanks to Jamie everything was easier, and we can say that we made it because we have opened successfully and we are full of hope for the future. It’s good to have someone you can rely on and tell everything to, about your doubts and your fears,” he affirmed. “Maybe the hardest part as a business owner is the anxiety that you have when you are opening. At the SBDC you can ask as many questions as you have and visit as much as you need, all at no cost. It helps you build up your confidence and become sure that you’re doing everything the right way every day.”

“I want to say thank you again SBDC because everyone has been so nice and so helpful. Since the beginning, they have guided us every step of the way,” Angelica concluded. “We know we can keep counting on the SBDC as well, so we’re very happy to have found them and we will keep working with them as much as we can,” added Javier, thereby confirming that working together, not alone, is once again a proven path to success for a small business.

For information about Candelaria Eatery & Cafe, please visit