The saying, “it takes a village,” holds true for many small businesses when they’re just getting started. For Cranelli’s owners Lasinda and Jimmy Crane, it took an extended network of family and friends, plus the help of others in the community, to make their new restaurant in Lone Tree, Colorado, the success they dreamed it could be and is.
Located across from the University of Phoenix, inside the IMT apartment retail outlets, Cranelli’s serves both students and families seven days a week. To maintain these daily hours and a burgeoning catering business, Lasinda and Jimmy rely on their own kids, a few family members and their amazing staff who care as much as they do about their guests’ experiences in the restaurant. “To do it on our own with the family involved is a balancing act but knowing that we’re living our dream makes it worth it,” remarked Lasinda.
Colorado Enterprise Fund involvement
It took decades of working in other people’s restaurants and managing other people’s customers and operations for Jimmy and Lasinda Crane to realize it was time to start their own business, ideally, an Italian restaurant focused on serving delicious family favorites in an inviting, “feel good” atmosphere. With business planning support from the South Metro Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and a referral to Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) for a loan, the Cranes were able to lease a turnkey restaurant they found on Craigslist. They officially opened Cranelli’s the day after Christmas in 2013 and haven’t stopped cooking since. “We needed the extra funds that CEF gave us,” remembered Lasinda, “to do what was needed to fill the kitchen with equipment, remodel the existing restaurant to the dream we envisioned for our Italian restaurant, and have enough money in the bank to support us after opening.”
Empowered by their own success, the Cranes have reached out to support others. They work with local vendors and businesses to supply their restaurant, and are active members of their local chamber. “It’s important to be part of a community and stay connected,” Lasinda stated. “Success is about partnering and believing in yourself. You need that vote of confidence from others every now and then.”
Cranelli’s has been recognized as an SBA District success Story and not just for their famous garlic knots which have become their signature calling card. KWGN Channel 2 also ranked Cranelli’s as “Colorado’s Best” for their “combination of family values, customer service, and love for food.” The restaurant also received a 2016 OpenTable Winner Diners’ Choice award for Parker, 2015 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence, and annual Best of restaurant and catering honors from local choice contests.
“CEF gives people the chance where banks won’t give you the time of day,” Lasinda concluded. “CEF listened to us, heard the dream and saw what we wanted to do. They helped make it happen!”