City fresh Caterers in Roxbury, Massachusetts, is nourishing the Boston area in more ways than one. The ethnic- food catering business grew out of a career devel-opment class that co-founder Glynn Lloyd, 28, taught at a local community center. While teaching the class, Lloyd recognized a need to create jobs and businesses in the community.
"When we were catering," says Lloyd, "we saw [ethnic food] as a niche to grow into." Lloyd founded the business with Jonathan Ruelas, 24, whom he met through com-munity service work. A third part-ner, Earl West, 23, contributed capital and handles delivery and accounts management. The part-ners now manage 17 employees.
"We've had a lot of support from the community," says Lloyd. The Empowerment Center in Boston, which assists small businesses in myriad ways, provided the start-up with technical advice and loans soon after the company was founded in 1994. In fact, the center led them to a finance company that lent them the capital to sign their first big deal: senior meal service Meals on Wheels.
Today, Meals on Wheels accounts for 75 percent of the company's business. The other 25 percent includes special-events catering, but Lloyd says they're beginning to pursue more corporate accounts to secure a more steady revenue stream. Cooking up 300 African-American, Spanish and Caribbean meals daily, City Fresh estimates sales of $500,000 for 1996.
"But we're not just about making money," says Lloyd. "We want to set an example that small businesses can lead the way."
With plenty more mouths to feed in Beantown, these three young entrepreneurs may have found their meal ticket.