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Struggling Syracuse restaurant owner saved with loan amid government shutdown

Clara Cedeno owns La Patria Cafe in Syracuse (CNYCentral).

A brand new small business owner in Syracuse gets some promising news that may help keep her cafe afloat amid the government shutdown.

La Patria Cafe on Green Street – just off James Street in Syracuse’s Hawley Green section - opened three months ago.

She risked everything to fulfill her dream of serving Latin American food out of her own restaurant. After months of spending to get the restaurant up and running, she found herself short on cash.

Owner Clara Cedeno says the disruption of a federal loan program because of the partial government shutdown was leaving her strapped until she got approved for a private loan.

"I still had a lot of startup costs and bills and things like that. It just started to pile up. When I sat down I was like 'Oh, I've got a week,' and that was pretty shocking."

Cedeno and her bank thought a loan from the Small Business Administration was the best way forward, but then the government shut down.

"All of sudden, everything really all at once just came to a head."

With cash quickly running out, Cedeno thought her nightmare might come true - closing the doors to her dream business.

That's when Pathfinder Bank, who she had been working with, rescued her with a loan.

"They said it's not your fault the government is in the state that it's in and we don't want you to suffer and we believe in you and we believe in what you're trying to do here."

With the loan, Cedeno plans to expand the space and the menu. Her first order of business is to install a new commercial kitchen in the old house.

“There are fears that I could just totally screw it up, but I want to believe that I am going to keep pushing forward."

She hopes to expand her space, menu and hours of operation by this summer.

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