Success Story: Marta Teegan – Cookbook LA

Marta Teegan serves her Echo Park community with fresh, healthy food from her grocery store, Cookbook Market. Thanks to two small business loans from Opportunity Fund, she has doubled her workforce and is set to expand to a second location.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. This week, read about Marta Teegan of Cookbook Market in Los Angeles. Marta serves her Echo Park community with fresh, healthy food from her grocery store. Thanks to two small business loans from Opportunity Fund, she has doubled her workforce and is set to expand to a second location.

Good Food in the Neighborhood

Marta Teegan started Cookbook Market in Echo Park, Los Angeles, six years ago. She built the artisanal grocery store with her husband Robert Stelzner on their combined experience in green grocery and gardening in the Los Angeles area. Their dream of providing fresh, healthy food for their community fueled the business.

Cookbook Market means a lot to the people who live in the neighborhood as their local grocery store. That responsibility means even more to Marta and her staff. “We chose this location because we’ve lived in this neighborhood since 1996,” she said. “Food is very personal and it’s something that people need on a daily basis.”

Good Food in the Neighborhood

Marta and her staff live and work in the neighborhood (photo courtesy of ROF Industries)

When Marta came upon an opportunity to expand the market into a second location, she went back to the U.S. Small Business Administration for financing support. She had previous success working with the SBA, but she found that her needs had changed.

“Working with the SBA was a six month long process,” she said. “In the retail world, that’s a huge amount of time. Fortunately the SBA put us in touch with Opportunity Fund, so we reached out.”

Opportunity Fund Helps Cookbook Market Stay Green

The Opportunity Fund difference was apparent right away for Cookbook Market. Not only was the funding process much faster, but working with business development officer Adriana Williams made everything run smoother as well.

“When we had the opportunity to start our second location, we needed fast access to capital,” she said. “Opportunity Fund gave us a huge advantage. Before, opportunities would slip through our fingers. Adriana is helpful and positive. Whenever I reach out to her, she immediately responds.”

The expansion project didn’t happen with the initial Opportunity Fund loan as the landlord at the new location gave the property to another tenant. Marta used the capital from her $55,000 loan to expand her workforce to 12 employees and for a private kitchen in downtown Los Angeles, which has allowed Cookbook Market to double its capacity of prepared food sales at the market.

“We want people be able to make a living in this type of food production on all levels,” she said. “Not just the growers and the farmers, but people within our immediate community who work with us at the store and in our kitchen.”

We offer support for Cookbook Market beyond just funding the next phase of their business. We also provide their merchant services, which Marta cites as a major money saver with reduced processing fees and a reliable credit card reader.


Cookbook Market save money each month

Our low cost and fast credit card processing helps Cookbook Market save money each month (photo courtesy of ROF Industries)

The strong partnership led Marta to apply for a second loan, this time to get their second location going again. Adriana helped Marta get approved the $95,000 loan this summer to help Cookbook Market officially expand to Highland Park.

We’re happy to support community business champions like Marta and Cookbook Market.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.

Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Visit Opportunity Fund online and follow us on Facebook and Twitter