Meet Latrice Wright, owner of Pink Panini, a restaurant in Hazel Crest, IL that provides the Southland community with fresh soups, sandwiches, salads, and much more. After 16 years of service at the Chicago Housing Authority, Latrice learned firsthand how hard it could be to fit a healthy lunch into a packed schedule. Because of this, she was inspired to create a place where busy, working people can stop by and get a quick, healthy, and “delicious meal that puts a smile on your face.”
Realizing that Hazel Crest lacked a business like the one she envisioned, Latrice decided to “bet on herself” and establish Pink Panini, but found that starting a business was not without challenges. “The hardest part of being an entrepreneur,” Latrice shared, “is that it often feels like you are alone.” However, with the Southland Development Authority’s (SDA) assistance, a partner within The Source’s BSO network, Latrice learned that she did not have to navigate her entrepreneurial journey alone.
Latrice first started her business advising journey by seeking out application assistance for the 2023 Source Grant. Through the support of her business advisor, Marisela Zambrano, a Relationship Manager with the SDA, Latrice has also adopted new marketing and employee retention strategies. Latrice shares, “The SDA has been assisting me with anything that I need to build my business, to make it grow.” She is now launching a second dining option, Crabs and Cocktails, opening soon next door to Pink Panini, offering seafood, entertainment, and providing the neighborhood “something that they don’t have already.”
Most recently, Latrice became one of the lucky recipients of the 2023 Source Grant and she plans to utilize the grant funds to “catch up on inventory, payroll, and maintenance,” as she recovers from the challenges of the post-pandemic economy.
The Source is excited to showcase small business owners like Latrice in 2024! Want to get involved? Connect with our network of expert business advisors today for no-cost business advising, click here to learn more.