When Carolyn walked into Baudilio Lopez’s auto parts and repair shop, it was love at first sight – for him at least. It took some convincing, but she agreed to go out to dinner with him. Fast forward a few decades later and Panamericana Auto Parts & Repair is still operating in the same Back of the Yards location where it started in 1979.

Unfortunately, Baudilio recently passed away, but his son Javier now runs the business with his mother Carolyn. 

Carolyn took the lead in applying for the Small Business Improvement Fund grant. The project included a new storefront, roof repairs, interior renovations, plumbing, electrical and HVAC updates. This construction allowed for better work flow and functionality. It created a designated lobby and restroom for customers, parts storage area and better separation from the garage.

“The SBIF grant provided us with the resources for needed updates – much had been untouched since the business was started in 1979.” Carolyn Lopez said. “This was part of Baudilio’s vision. Now we can take the next steps to grow and better serve our customers.”

The City of Chicago’s Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) promotes economic development by providing small businesses with financial assistance for building improvement costs. SomerCor is the program administrator of the City’s Department of Planning and Development SBIF program. SBIF grants use local Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenue to reimburse you for the pre-approved repair or rehab of your business facilities or adjacent land acquisition. You must be located within a SBIF eligible TIF district. The maximum grant assistance for an industrial property is $150K; for a single-tenant commercial property the maximum is $100K; and for multi-tenant commercial property, it is $50K. Click here if you are interested in learning more about this program.