LUBBOCK, Texas — Owner Dorothy Lee celebrated 10 years of Lee’s Café this past Friday, she told KLBK News on Monday.

“Last week, we were celebrating our 10th anniversary which was for Lee’s Café, even though Royal is combined with Lee’s now. But, we still had to celebrate Lee’s, because Lee’s is the reason why everything is what it is,” she explained.

Dorothy opened Lee’s Café in January 2013, which paved the way for her to then open Royal Seafood Shack and Bucket of Love.

Before she could open Lee’s Café, she had to start R&D Cleaning and Flooring. She needed extra income after struggling to get loans to open the restaurant– a problem many Black entrepreneurs face.

“As a black woman, I’m still jumping obstacles now. It’s tough being a mom and pops in general, but as far as the beginning of it, we don’t have that opportunity to go out and go to the banks and get loans to get started,” Lee said.

A fall 2020 survey by the Federal Reserve Bank found that Black business owners were less than half as likely to be fully approved for private loans than white business owners, even in the same low credit risk category.

“The cleaning service is where the funds came from in order to be able to open the restaurant. If it wasn’t for us already starting something else, I don’t know if it would’ve ever happened,” Dorothy shared.

Her cleaning business is still around today.

However, she will soon be overseeing a total of five businesses, with plans to open Doc’s Cafeteria, a one-stop buffet, by the end of February across from Coronado High School on 34th Street.

“It just seems like in our race, that they think they can’t succeed or do what the other color is doing. race is doing, but we can. We can do whatever we want to do,” Lee encouraged. “It’s all up to you. You your own failure.”

To learn more, you can find Dorothy’s businesses on social media.