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New Fund Could Spark Small Business Boom In Opa-locka

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - They're serving up small business dreams in Opa-locka.

CrabMan 305, a local seafood spot, is getting ready to open its first sit down restaurant. It's a big step for two cousins who started their business out of their garage.

"People just showed up and tasted the food and from there it just grew," said Johnny Fanin, one of the owners of CrabMan 305.

Now they have more than 130,000 followers on Instagram and even celebrities can't get enough of their food.

"We put it on social media and people started coming. By a week we made a thousand dollars," said co-owner Darren Whitaker. "It's a blessing. It was destined for us to be in this position right here."

Whitaker and Fanin are among the first to receive a small business loan thanks to the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation's new Business Fund.

"The city is recognizing our hard work and our dedication to actually be able to move. Them putting the funds behind us to be able to move to the next level," Whitaker said.

The goal of the fund is to support small minority-owned businesses and businesses located in low-to-moderate income communities in South Florida.

Through a partnership with JP Morgan Chase, the OLCDC now has more than $1 million to loan qualifying businesses.

"The fact that he's doing so well, he's providing employment opportunities as well as a food service throughout South Florida, we're just very proud and excited about the opportunity to help him expand and grow," said Willie Logan, the President & CEO of the OLCDC.

The fund also provides businesses with personalized mentoring and consulting to help them continue to thrive.

"We're looking to help them access capital they wouldn't usually be able to access," said fund manager Michaeljohn Green. "Whether it's because of their credit score or other problems that would keep them from accessing capital from traditional financing."

For CrabMan 305, the cash infusion means a new dine-in location, a bigger industrial kitchen, and a chance to show their neighbors and future entrepreneurs that success is within reach.

"We grew up in this community," Fanin said. "For the kids that's coming up, it's a positive sign that you can actually make a difference in this community."

If you're interested in starting or growing a small business and want to do it in the Opa-locka area, you can apply for this special local loan here.

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