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“We’re so grateful for Hebrew Free Loan, which came through for us when Covid-19 caused an abrupt and devastating drop in sales. Their fast-acting support went way beyond what anyone would expect.

San Francisco’s Hometown Creamery is a family business in every sense of the word. Brothers Adar and Saadi Halil opened their shop five years ago in the Inner Sunset, a block from Golden Gate Park. They make seasonal flavors completely from scratch, using natural flavors and fresh ingredients sourced from local farms. They welcome customers with the enthusiasm of business owners who truly believe in their product, and they give back to the community in whatever ways they can.

But Covid-19 hit their business hard, with sales falling off a cliff when shelter-in-place took effect. The Halil brothers kept Hometown Creamery open, but they had to rethink their business strategies and retool operations on a moment’s notice. That’s when they turned to Hebrew Free Loan, where an interest-free business loan provided the capital they needed to pivot successfully.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be part of the Hebrew Free Loan community. We’re so fortunate this organization exists, and has been there for us and others in this time of unforeseen need.

Adar and Saadi are using the loan to retrofit their kitchen and shop for safe and efficient operations in a Covid-19 environment. A new point-of-sale system minimizes physical contact between customers and cashiers, and they’re mostly selling pints of ice cream, rather than scoops, both in the shop and through online delivery platforms.

Adar and Saadi had received an earlier business loan from Hebrew Free Loan to help restore their vintage VW bus that now functions as an ice cream truck. Until the pandemic, they could often be found in the Financial District, Union Square, and the Marina, scooping ice cream from their truck. That stopped entirely for several months, and the truck has just begun operating again at the Marina Green on weekends. It’s also available to cater socially distanced parties.

What’s been clear to the Halil brothers throughout the pandemic is that it would be a mistake to simply maintain operations as usual and cross their fingers, hoping things would get better. They’ve been proactive from the beginning, creatively reconfiguring their business model to thrive under new conditions.

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