Anni Forestel was managing a thriving beauty salon located on 5th Avenue in the heart of Old Town when construction of the new TriMet line began. Bella Pearl Salon depends on walk-in customers and a prominent storefront presence to gain business, but construction of the new lightrail caused business to slow and product sales to drop.
It was during this time that Bella Pearl Salon received a long term, low interest loan from TriMet in partnership with Portland Development Commission and Portland State University to offset financial setbacks caused by lightrail construction. The loan provided working capital for Bella Pearl to make repairs to its storefront and improve the interior of the salon.
In addition to receiving capital from the Trimet loan fund, the Portland State University Business Outreach Program provides ongoing business support and counseling to Bella Pearl Salon. This includes a dedicated Portland State University student team that worked with Anni for 4 months to fine-tune her business plan, develop her business goals, and improve her marketing strategy. The students came from diverse fields of study, including marketing, accounting, and business management, and created a fresh and creative approach to running the business.
Bella Pearl Salon has been an important part of the downtown 5th Avenue neighborhood since 2000. Anni Forestel became owner of the salon in 2002. The salon employs 10 stylists, 1 skin care specialist, and 3 part time receptionists. Job creation and the development of thriving neighborhood economic centers lie at the heart of microenterprise, and Anni Forestel has excelled at fostering these values for her business and the community around her.
The TriMet Loan Fund supports 10 businesses impacted by the heaviest phases of construction on the I-205/ Portland Mall MAX Light Rail Project. The Portland State University Business Outreach Program provides technical assistance to the businesses and Oregon Microenterprise Network manages administration of the loan fund.