Reynaldo Diaz immigrated from El Salvador to Guttenberg in the 1980s, where he received citizenship in the 1990s. Today, he and his wife Suzanne Zikas are proud North Bergen residents who both work in fashion and the importing and exporting of textiles.
“We just love the diversity and small-town feeling here. Coming from Latin America to a community comprised mostly of immigrants looking for a better life creates an ideal environment for entrepreneurs of all kinds. Hudson County’s location can’t be beaten, it is just so accessible. For our business, easy access to New York City and international shipping hubs is essential.” Reynaldo and Suzanne both agree there is nothing like the support and sense of unity they’ve experienced.
“Through COVID, I was unable to receive shipments and travel to meet clients and do business. As a global company with a local footprint, this posed huge challenges for me. Receiving the SBA loan from the UCEDC kept my business going while I worked from home while also allowing me to support all my local businesses. The financial assistance I received at a local level is what quality of life is all about and is a unique feature of this amazing County,” shares Reynaldo.
Michelle Richardson, Executive Director, Hudson County Economic Development Corporation (HCEDC) shared, “We set out in 2017 to partner with a diverse group of lenders with the financial resources that align with HCEDC’s mission to assist our small business community. We’re proud to have created a network for referrals through our affiliated partners to allow small businesses to access customized solutions for their unique needs.”
“The HCEDC and UCEDC are mission-driven to help small businesses succeed. Our priorities aligned during the pandemic, and we were able to be even more responsive and accessible to local businesses. This was a huge benefit to small businesses as the HCEDC was on the ground and in constant communication with partners and businesses to provide the best resources and options available. Together, we built a powerful partnership and a seamless process for small business owners.” Adam Farrah, President, UCEDC.
Reynaldo reflects on being an entrepreneur in Hudson County. “If you are looking to open a small business, but do not know where to start or how to financially open doors, look into resources in your area. Fill out as many applications for loans as you can because organizations like HCEDC and UCEDC will be there to make it happen and offer advice.”