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#ATLStrong Small Business Stories - Vine City Eatery Pivots with Business Continuity Loan Fund Assistance

Native Atlantan Zak Wallace, owner, founder, and CEO of the Vine City eatery Local Green, grew up in a food desert in Southwest Atlanta. Inspired after seeing first-hand how food insecurity and poor eating habits plagued his community, in 2017 he created Local Green. The business began as a food truck and grew to become a thriving restaurant, serving healthy food to a community desperately lacking in “wholesome food options.”

When the pandemic hit in March, Local Green’s business plummeted drastically and took a huge financial hit. Says Wallace, “People from Invest Atlanta reached out and were able to tell me what programs were available.” Local Green received thirty thousand dollars in Business Continuity Loan Fund (BCLF) funds.  “The resources I was allotted allowed me to make sure my operational money was in place for the core of my business,” explains Wallace.

Wallace says that “human interactions” have been one of the biggest changes his business has seen as a result of COVID-19. “People would come in and it was like an escape of what might be going on outside the doors. Now we are doing all digital online ordering and curbside delivery.”  Because Local Green’s dining room remains closed due to COVID-19, Wallace is looking to expand the food truck model and form deeper connections with other communities, too. This transition will allow Local Green to continue to spread its message of health and hope across Atlanta. 

Wallace is tremendously grateful for the BCLF and Invest Atlanta’s overall mission.  “Invest Atlanta has been here in an ideal way,” he says.

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