Two sisters turned their business dreams into reality when they opened LuNajera Kitchen and Catering in Plainfield, Illinois. Amanda Luna and Laura Najera started their side business a few years ago when they began selling cheesecakes to family and friends. As the popularity grew and requests for more cheesecakes poured in, the pair expanded their sales efforts to include local festivals. As the success continued, the sisters decided it was time to take their business to the next level.
In 2015, Amanda and Laura decided to make a 100 percent commitment to their business. They quit their full-time jobs so they could spend more time focused on LuNajera Kitchen and Catering. Amanda explained that her sister has always had a passion for baking; Laura even studied hospitality at the Art Institute of Chicago.
This past December, they opened LuNajera Kitchen & Catering. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held by Plainfield Area Chamber of Commerce on January 19, 2016. Amanda says their business is a “One Stop Shop for ‘Sugar’ and ‘Spice’!” They specialize in Mexican cuisine as well as sweet treats, such as cheesecakes and pies.
Their primary goal is to expand the catering side of the business. However, they also have a dining room that is open during lunch hours. This is a great opportunity for customers to stop in and try their products while also learning about catering options. They serve lunch Tuesdays through Fridays from 11a.m. to 3p.m. and Saturdays from 11a.m.-4p.m.
When they were getting started with their business, they contacted the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Joliet Junior College for assistance with their business plan. They already had a business plan drafted, but they wanted to consult with a business advisor for feedback.
SBDC Business Advisor Joe Giunta consulted with the sisters and provided recommendations on how to tweak their business plan. He also provided them with referrals to an accountant and an attorney, so they could expand their business team. Amanda explained that she enjoyed meeting with Joe because she never felt rushed. She said, “Joe answered all of our questions and really went into details, especially when explaining the profit and loss charts to us. It was very helpful.”
They also attended a free Starting Your Business in Illinois seminar presented by SBDC Business Advisor Mike McClinton. Amanda explained that even though they were further along in the process with their business, the seminar reassured them they were on the right track. Joe had very positive feedback about his clients. He said, “They are very enthusiastic and willing to do the things necessary to be successful. Those are important qualities for any entrepreneur.”
LuNajera Kitchen & Catering is located at 16108 S Route 59 in Plainfield, Illinois. For more information, call (815) 267-6941 or like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LuNajeraKitchenCatering2015/
The Illinois SBDC at JJC offers consultations, resources and seminars to assist entrepreneurs with the start-up or expansion of their business. To learn more about the Illinois SBDC at JJC call (815) 280-1400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Illinois SBDC at JJC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Department of Commerce and Economic Development, and Joliet Junior College.
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