NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It’s a recipe for small business success in a Westchester County city.

A multi-billion dollar development firm is helping a mom and pop restaurant survive during the coronavirus pandemic, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Tuesday.

Built with love over 22 years, the Aguilar family was not sure Taqueria El Chino in New Rochelle would survive a seven week shutdown.

“It was very stressful. Numbers were going down tremendously. It was better to close because basically there was like no business,” Irma Aguilar said.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

El Chino is still cooking authentic Jalisco cuisine, thanks to a coronavirus relief Paycheck Protection Program loan obtained with help from financial pro Albert Wu.

“I know there’s a difficult time for them to go through the red tape and the bureaucracy,” Wu said.

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Wu knows the challenges of immigrant entrepreneurs. His parents came from Taiwan and opened a restaurant on the Upper West Side.

“My dad was a cook. My mom was a cashier. So what time do you have to fill out paperwork? You really need that back of the house, that person who understands the process,” Wu said.

Wu connected with the Aguilars through a volunteer program sponsored by RXR Realty, the master developer designated by New Rochelle to lead its downtown rebirth.

The people promoting development in the city understand it is authentic places like El Chino that add special character to the area.

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As new buildings fill with new residents, no one wants the pandemic to rob downtown of local flavor.

“While we can create a successful building and want to attract new residents, it’s important to generate new activity within that downtown, but more important to also help a lot of the existing businesses and existing residents,” RXR Realty’s David Garten said.

“We’re very thankful with everyone who is supporting all of us,” Irma Aguilar said.

The people behind a 28-story tower are helping the family that runs an 18-seat restaurant.

The Aguilar family decided to pay it forward by using only one-third of the PPP loan, so there would be more money in the program for other businesses.

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