Candelaria Eatery & Cafe

Happy Together: Candelaria Eatery and Café Open and Thriving

Florida SBDC at UCF – Sumter County Assists Colombian Fusion Restaurant Start-up and Navigate New World

May 28, 2024


Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or

Jamie Mead, Area Manager/Consultant, FSBDC at UCF Sumter County, 352.689.4698 or

Orlando, FL – 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


About the FSBDC at UCF

Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of part of UCF’s Office of the President and the Florida SBDC Network.

The Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources. In addition to its core service offering, the Florida SBDC at UCF also offers specialized services to qualifying companies, including capital access, market growth, government contracting, international trade, business continuation, cybersecurity, disaster planning and recovery, and more. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 9 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2022, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,600 jobs created, retained or saved; $793.9 million in sales growth; $66.7 million in capital formation; $103.8 million in government contract awards; and 160 new businesses started. For more information, please visit .

About the Florida SBDC Network

For more than 45 years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

In 2022, the Florida SBDC Network delivered 117,750 hours of consulting to 14,758 small business clients – resulting in business owners securing $446 million in capital, $445 million in government contracting, impacting 23,515 jobs, increasing sales by over $4.5 billion, and creating 825 businesses.

With over 40 offices statewide, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Department of Defense, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862 |