We had the thoughts and had the plans, now how can we get the money for it? It was awesome that MGCC was there with this [program].
Jeremy Lockett and his family are introducing their culture and delicious cuisine through Himalayan Kitchen, a Nepalese and Indian restaurant in the heart of Union Square in Somerville. Jeremy, his wife Rabina and her brother Uttam share qualities of discipline and passion for the food business. This has helped them grow a loyal customer base in the city.
While the family-owned restaurant opened in 2016, it took Jeremy about 18 months to fully develop the Nepalese portion of the menu, as it was important to set it apart from other Indian restaurants in the area through their traditional offerings.
“No matter the weather, we were always there, being just a five-minute walk away from the restaurant.” Jeremy said.
Jeremy shared that Himalayan Kitchen’s first $1,000 day was after a huge snowstorm, which motivated them to spend all day finalizing menu items and working hard for the business.
“It kept growing from there," he said. "It was such an ease of tension to know people were liking the food and coming back for it."
During the pandemic and shutdown, Himalayan Kitchen served its flavorful foods out of to-go containers. But, Jeremy wanted to create a space where customers can dine and enjoy the full experience.
“My hope is that we have more customers and make an atmosphere where people stick around and eat and drink longer than they are now,” Jeremy said.
He obtained a liquor license in the hope of renovating the bar area and purchasing the necessary equipment for it.
“We had the thoughts and had the plans," Jeremy said. "Now, how can we get the money for it? It was awesome that MGCC was there with this [program].”
With the Biz-M-Power Crowdfunding-Matching Grant Program, Himalayan Kitchen was able to reach its goal of $11,675, with two days remaining on its campaign, allowing it to receive the one-to-one matching grant from MGCC. Thanks to its 134 patrons, Himalayan Kitchen actually exceeded its goal by $241.
The grant was used for equipment, including sinks and an ice machine, and to build shelving units for the soon-to-be-renovated bar area.
Jeremy discovered the Biz-M-Power Grant Program through Union Square Main Streets.
“Without them, we may not have heard about it," he said. "Mike (from Union Square Main Streets) came into the restaurant and was hands-on with us. I was singing and dancing every day!”
His Small Business Technical Assistance (SBTA) Provider, Lindsay Allen from East Somerville Main Streets, also helped him succeed in the application and implementation process. Jeremy’s Patronicity coach, Camryn Greer, was another helping hand who made the crowdfunding experience a positive one.
“She made it effortless," Jeremy said. "Whatever I needed, she was there for me and took care of it. With the help of her and the Main Streets, the process was made easy for us. We didn’t have to figure out much on our own.”
Jeremy’s love for speaking with everyone who walked through Himalayan Kitchen’s doors helped the customers truly get to know the heart behind the business. Among the other helping hands was a friendly neighbor who emailed around 70 personal contacts and other business owners she knew from being a property owner and businessperson herself.
“I didn’t think we were going to reach our goal, but I stuck with it," Jeremy said. "I spoke with every customer, whether I knew them or not, and anyone that would listen. I let them know we were fundraising and if they wanted to support a small family business, how they could get on board."
Jeremy encourages other businesses owners to look into the Biz-M-Power Grant Program -- and to connect with community members for support.
“I would definitely recommend Biz-M-Power for other business owners,” he said. “No one is going to sell what you’re selling better than you.”