Monday, June 1, 2020 Lends Hailey Restaurant a Helping Hand
Jose and Sandra Castillo founded Lago Azul in Hailey 18 years ago.
Monday, May 18, 2020


Lago Azul has been feeding front-line workers during the pandemic. Now the Hailey restaurant is getting some help as it navigates its way through the uncertainty of the corona-cession.

The restaurant, founded and run by a family that fled the wars in El Salvador decades ago, has gotten a zero-interest $1,000 loan from Kiva, a fund that until now has worked primarily in developing countries.

“The loan will help us to keep our business going and get through this pandemic,” said Chris Castillo.

Kiki Tidwell brought the opportunity to the restaurant’s attention. And she says this form of crowd-based lending could aid other small businesses, as well.

It works by the borrower getting 10 family members and friends to lend at least $25 on the platform to show they’re supported in the community. Once done, the loan is posted to Kiva for lenders from all over the world to support it in increments of $25 or more.

The restaurant has 18 months to pay the loan.

“It’s zero interest so it’s like a form of philanthropy,” said Tidwell.

Tidwell thinks this might be the ticket for small businesses who face an uncertain future this summer and may or may not have gotten a small business loan. Loans can be up to $15,000. They can be 48-month loans with a six-month forgiveness period before payments start.

“It’s hard to run a small business here anyway because of the seasonality of our market. The pandemic has added to the difficulty,” she said. "This is a way for locals to support their favorite Main Street businesses."

Tidwell got involved with Kiva as a long-term impact investor who’s been loaning small amounts to international projects for dozens of years.

Kiva, the world’s first online lending platform connecting online lenders to entrepreneurs, is a 501 non-profit organization that allows people to lend money via the Internet to low-income entrepreneurs.

“In a way it’s like recycling money,” said Tidwell. “As I get the money back, I invest in another project.”

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