Lisa Lindo worked as an event planner for major organizations before establishing her own business, Open Bar Hospitality, in 2006 with her husband, George Duval. His background in mixology coupled with her event planning skills, together they established a high-end bar catering business primarily serving corporate clients. Over time they also added mixology classes and team-building events, in addition to parties and weddings.
When COVID hit, all parties were canceled. They moved their mixology classes online but found that was not enough to sustain their business.
They developed an idea to provide virtual corporate parties for the holidays by assembling all the ingredients for group mixology classes and virtual gatherings and pitched it to their clients. The idea was very well received, and several parties were booked immediately. Lindo and Duval realized they needed to source a lot of new products, such as boxes, portable mixology ingredients, and glass wear—the cost of which became prohibitive.
They learned about New York Forward loans and were put in touch with NDC, which provided hands-on service to get them working capital.
“From the day I filled out the loan application to the money landing in our account, it was four days,” says Lindo.
Now they are doing corporate holiday parties across the country, not just New York, expanding their business from Chicago to California.
“The loan came just at the right moment,” says Lindo.