Drum roll please…the Downtown Sacramento Foundation is proud and excited to announce Federico Garcia of Gusto Gaucho as the winner of the 2021 Calling All Dreamers annual retail competition. The coveted prize package includes cash and in-kind services and resources valued at $120,000 to help launch the small business and turn dreams into a reality with a downtown Sacramento storefront. Garcia’s Gusto Gaucho winning concept was announced today by the 2019 award winners – Nash & Proper owners Cecil Rhodes and Jake Bombard – at the Downtown Sacramento Partnership’s annual State of Downtown program presented by Kaiser Permanente at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center.
“After pausing and pivoting the program in 2020 – to instead provide financial resources to help keep previous Calling All Dreamers winners afloat and open for business – resuming the program and announcing Gusto Gaucho as the new winner makes it that much more special,” said Michael Ault, Executive Director of Downtown Sacramento Partnership. “We applaud everyone who entered, and it is our hope that after the process they’ll all have the tools to be able to open a storefront in downtown Sacramento.”
Once opened, the new Gusto Gaucho café in downtown Sacramento will offer hand-crafted empanadas and pastries. Customers will relish the Argentine flavor in each bite – from the rich, layered crust of the pastries, to the tangy chimichurri sauce that accompanies the empanadas.
“Opening a cafe in downtown Sacramento will be a dream come true for me and confirmation of all the hard work I’ve put into the project over the years,” said Federico Garcia, owner of Gusto Gaucho. “Operating at various farmers’ markets in 2019, my customers really encouraged me to keep going because once they try my products, they keep coming back for more. I believe if you work hard, then little by little, amazing opportunities will follow.”
The Shark Tank-style competition takes qualified applicants through a business development program that calls for extensive business planning, market research, proof of financial sustainability, and more. More than just a retail competition, Calling All Dreamers has driven economic growth in downtown Sacramento for seven years, helping to open 29 businesses, create more than 100 jobs, and lease more than 26,000 sq. ft.
The Calling All Dreamers competition is produced by Downtown Sacramento Partnership and made possible by the generous support of the Capitol Corridor Chapter of SCORE and the following program sponsors: Kaiser Permanente, City of Sacramento, SMUD, and California Bank of Commerce. The prize package is made possible with the support of sponsors who continue to be champions for the economic growth of the downtown core: Marquee Media, The Shipyard (previously Mering), DesCor Builders, Smith, McDowell & Powell Law Corporation, XSIGHT Productions, Inc., designTECH Interior Design Services, Inc., Uptown Studios, Inc., Be Your Business, and many others.