Marisa Nuñez, Marisa Hair, Long Island City, NY

Diana Aguilar

Zaruma Gold Coffee

Brooklyn, New York

“I felt so relieved when I got the loan; it solved my biggest challenges.”

Diana Creates the ‘Gold Standard’ of Coffee

For fifteen years, Diana sold her Ecuadorian coffee brand from her home, all while saving up to open her own store. “In 2021, I bought my first shop in Dumbo. I had been selling coffee for years, but I had no experience running a shop before. Especially still being new to the country and English being my second language.” Diana enlisted the help of her four children, and together as a family, they made Zaruma coffee a local staple. “My kids help me so much. They run the store, do the accounting, order supplies, and do payroll. It really is a family-run business.”

After two years, Diana was struggling to make ends meet, and she decided that in order to keep things afloat she would need to include food in her menu. But she didn’t have a kitchen in her store, and she didn’t have the funds to cover the costs of an expansion. “My credit was low, and I thought I wouldn’t be able to get a loan. My friend, also a small business owner, used Ascendus and told me to contact you. I felt so relieved when I got the loan; it solved my biggest challenges.” Diana used her loan to expand her store to include a kitchen, hire contractors, and continue paying her employees when the store was closed for renovations. “Now, with the kitchen, we are selling more than ever before. Even though the people in our community are not Ecuadorian, they like my coffee, they like my dishes, and they support my journey. I am so happy to spread awareness about my culture and to have a community that supports me.”



When Diana was living in Ecuador, she took the delicious local coffee she could get everywhere for granted. “For me, this was just what coffee tasted like.” When she moved to New York City, Diana was shocked at her inability to find her hometown coffee. “Not only could I not find coffee from my hometown, but I couldn’t find Ecuadorian coffee anywhere.” Diana decided to bring Ecuadorian coffee to New York City and became the first person to sell traditional Ecuadorian coffee in New York.

Today, Diana’s success has allowed her to open a second location in Long Island City. She has doubled the number of people she can employ, she has licensed her business model to two additional partners in North Carolina and Massachusetts. “The Ascendus loan helped a lot. I am so grateful for the help and to be able to continue growing my business.”

To learn more about Diana, visit:

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