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City First Bank of D.C.

Cake Love & Love Cafe
Cake Love & Love Cafe

After attending a prestigious law school and working as a federal government lawyer, Warren Brown decided to change course and pursue his true passion: baking fabulous cakes from scratch. Warren first met City First’s Chief Lending Officer in the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights’ Fast Track Training Program. As he worked to understand the baking business and fine-tune his business plan, Warren turned to City First for other key ingredients, including expert advice on financing and the SBA–guaranteed loan process. Cakelove opened in March 2002 to rave reviews–on television, in magazines and in daily papers.

A few weeks after its opening the Washington Post gave a depiction of Cakelove stating, “So far, the clientele is mainly from the neighborhood but also includes passersby who can't help noticing Cakelove's cheerful bright yellow walls and snappy semi-industrial decor -- not to mention the smells that waft out, redolent with butter and sugar and chocolate. This is definitely not a low-fat operation. And business has been good; so good that Brown already needs additional experienced bakers.”

Warren hasn’t looked back since. However, there has been one complaint. As one patron put it, “The only problem with Cakelove is that it is takeout. You can’t collapse on the sidewalk and have a nosh with some good coffee.” Warren has solved this problem. In fact, he again approached City First who helped him secure a second SBA loan for the Love Café that has opened its doors across the street, where customers can dine in, finally, on light salads, unusual sandwiches, and sweets as they are meant to be enjoyed.

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