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Baker Vahan Khachatryan used to dread receiving the electricity bill and seeing his profits be wiped out by old, inefficient ovens. But thanks to a loan from the EFSE, his bakery is benefiting from state-of-the-art ovens and a customer base that’s always hungry for more.

Getting up well before the crack of dawn isn’t ever easy – and nobody knows this as well as Patvakan Khachatryan, owner of the Vahan Khachatryan and Friends Bakery in Armenia. ‘But when you’re as lucky as I am to see how years and years of hard work pay off, you quickly forget about the tough times’, says Patvakan.

At times, today’s success was hard for Patvakan and his son Armen to imagine. Launched in 2000, the company started out with just three old electric ovens. Patvakan recalls that the ovens were so inefficient and costly to operate that using them ate away at his profit margins.  

Yet despite challenges like this, Patvakan and Armen kept baking – and customers kept coming back, often times brining friends. To keep up with demand, the bakery had to update its equipment, and to do that the father and son team turned to their local bank, Aratbank, to get funds from the European Fund for South East Europe (EFSE).

With two financial loans from Araratbank totalling USD 57 000, the bakery got rid of the old ovens and installed energy-efficient gas ones. The bank worked one-on-one with the company, going over the challenges that plagued the bakery and mapping out an investment plan to modernise its production setup.

Not only did this assistance and the new ovens help grow the company’s bottom line, it also increased the quality of its breads. Now today, Armen runs the shop with the help of 11 bakers and four deliverymen. ‘When you have a partner like Araratbank at your side, you can successfully steer clear of obstacles and stay on course’, says Patvakan. 

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