Farine Bakery & Café
Farine is French for flour. Farine Bakery & Café is French for an exceptionally welcoming and affordable bistro-style experience. Owners Olivier Dispas and Stephanie Rodriguez have succeeded in bringing the culinary delights of France and Belgium to Seattle’s Eastside without the high-priced intimidation factor. Specializing in house-made fresh breads, pastries, desserts and croissant-based breakfast dishes, the cozy establishment caters to customers in its 60-seat café, through takeout, and via delivery to homes and workplaces throughout the community.
So many customers – so little time and space! Farine opened in late 2020 and the café’s popularity spread rapidly across the community. Olivier and Stephanie found their greatest challenge to be accelerating their business plan to keep up with demand. “We were handmaking 3,000 croissants and going through two tons of potatoes a week,” exclaims Stephanie. The couple needed another loan to expand and needed to find a lender willing to grow alongside them.
“Other area banks made us feel like a transaction, whereas KeyBank felt more like a partnership. They were ‘in the boat’ with us from the very start.” – Stephanie Rodriguez, Owner, Farine Bakery & Café
Olivier and Stephanie visited a few area banks before settling on KeyBank, which, according to Stephanie, had a local reputation for being very small business friendly. “The KeyBank team invited us to sit down and spend time just talking about our business,” explains Olivier. The SBA-7A loan was deemed best for their plan to open a second, larger location … in part because it doesn’t require borrowers to provide commercial real estate as collateral. Adds Stephanie, “Decision making was becoming incredibly complex, and our KeyBank people gave us adequate time to focus, coached us on the best way to show the strength of our business and helped us prioritize to do the right things at the right time.”
With their KeyBank SBA-7A funding put to work, Farine Bakery & Café is set to open their second location come early summer 2022 in Bellevue … complete with patio seating, an open view of the kitchen staff at work and a bakery three times the size of the original location. Smiles Stephanie, “Our KeyBank team was hyper-responsive and believed in us from day one. They coached us and worked to minimize our risk throughout the lending process.” The business is also benefiting from KeyBank Merchant Services, making remote digital payments agile and reliable. “Everybody deserves great bread,” said Olivier. “Everybody deserves a great bank,” replied KeyBank.