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Farmington Region Client ProfileAmigo Café

Amigo Cafe

The Amigo Café is in Kayenta, Arizona near Monument Valley on the Navajo Nation. The restaurant is open six days a week and is one of only two full-service restaurants in the township. Employing fourteen, the business is the longest continuously operating business in town. The menu is a blend of Mexican, American and Navajo cuisine.  The business actively supports youth athletics, sponsors of local-area marathon runners and is a long-time donor to the local women’s shelter.  The staff also serve as local ambassadors on behalf of the many tourists that come from all over the world to Kayenta to tour Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. The staff’s friendliness is regularly mentioned in customers’ social media reviews and the Amigo Café team fully appreciates that they are in the “hospitality business.”

Julene Price did not necessarily set out to be an entrepreneur. As a homemaker, she loved to cook and care for her at-home children. Her husband, who works in the retail banking industry, learned the Amigo Café was for sale. Both he and Julene had always liked the restaurant and the owners. They discussed the possibility of becoming business owners and made the decision to buy.

The key challenges in purchasing the business were (1) obtaining capital; (2) learning the business; and, (3) getting the business lease transfer completed through the Kayenta Township and Navajo Nation.

Larry and Julene liquidated savings and were, because of the business’ long history and their good credit, able to obtain a bank loan for the balance.  Post-acquisition, the sellers stayed six months to assist Julene. This involved learning and documenting the restaurant’s recipes and working to onboard key new team members including Julene’s sister Elaine.

The transfer of the business lease took an abundance of patience and attention to administrative detail. It helped that Julene and her extended family are long-time residents of the Kayenta, AZ area, the business was well-established and had always had good community relationships.

WESST has been engaged with Julene and the Amigo Café team since August 2016. During this time, Julene has engaged in a comprehensive set of business development work that is driving increased sales growth, profitability and business valuation.  Over the years, a partial list of activities includes helping Julene write an operation manual, securing the services of a CPA to generate regular and accurate financial statements, increase her understanding of gross profit and net income drivers, developing job descriptions, workforce scheduling, refining hiring processes, social media marketing and assistance with compliance with Navajo and Kayenta Township business regulations.

“I’ve been working with Chris Hunter and WESST in Farmington since August 2016. What a difference he makes to my business! The Farmington WESST office is helping me grow my business and business skills beyond what I’d envisioned. Through WESST’s strategic advisor’s network, I met Sonia Lukow, CPA. I now have the ideas and tools which bring me more customers, are helping me become more profitable and empower me to make my business more marketable.”

Julene enjoys the sense of ownership she has in a business she knows is increasing in value as she and the team work to make it better and stronger.