Louisiana Creole Gumbo

50-year-old restaurant works overtime to soften COVID-19 impact

Black-owned business

Retained 48 employees

Continuity of services

Paycheck Protection Program Success Story

Story Overview

Joe Spencer sees himself as a steward, entrusted with one of
Detroit’s best-kept secret recipes. His restaurant – Louisiana
Creole Gumbo – is a culinary institution in the city, serving
authentic Louisiana Creole-style food since the 1970s.

But when COVID-19 hit and the restaurant’s two locations
closed for months, Spencer and his business partners didn’t
know whether Louisiana Creole Gumbo would survive
the pandemic. After a half-century of bringing Detroiters a
taste of southern cooking, the restaurant was in danger of
shuttering for good.

While the restaurants remained closed, Spencer reached
out to his business bank for a PPP loan. After realizing
that high demand was overwhelming the bank, Spencer
remembered his connection to Goldman Sachs: he was part
of the Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program
and had remained in touch with his instructors.

Through Goldman Sachs, Louisiana Creole Gumbo came to
CRF seeking a PPP loan. After receiving a PPP loan, Spencer
prepared for re-opening once Michigan’s governor gave the
“all clear.” The PPP loan helped Spencer re-hire employees
and pay for a top-to-bottom cleaning of both restaurants.

The PPP funds had a significant impact on Louisiana Creole
Gumbo, which re-opened in June to socially distant crowds
of Detroiters who had been craving the restaurant’s famous
gumbo. Once Spencer saw a line out the door, he knew that
it would be the community – not just the PPP loan – that
would inspire growth and hope for the future.

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