A small-town upbringing in a family that valued sharing with others shaped Cory Arcarese’s life.
The youngest of seven children who grew up in a tiny Texas border town, she would take her mom’s burritos and lemonade to immigrants who were waiting outside the Catholic church next door to find work.
“That little gesture taught me a lot,” Arcarese said. “It taught me that, no matter how poor you were, you could always extend kindness and help someone else.”
Her childhood resonated when Arcarese founded Value Care Health Clinic (now Matthews-Vu Medical Group), bringing primary care for the first time to Southeast Colorado Springs. It resonates when she consults with small business owners, steering them toward success.
The work she’s done in Southeast Colorado Springs is a natural extension of those lessons she learned as a child.
“I think if you get to know people, you find that they have the same hopes and goals that you have for yourself and that you have for your children,” she said. “You share the same things. We all want to succeed. We all want our children to succeed; we all want better for our community.”
After earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing, Arcarese worked for nearly a decade on the business side of newspaper publishing, and along the way earned a B.S. in accounting. A chance encounter with the associate director of the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center, who asked if she’d ever considered helping small businesses, set her on a different path.
“I started working with small businesses and I just fell in love with it,” Arcarese said. “I recognized that my impact would go so much farther by working with small businesses than working in a corporate environment. I just felt empowered.”
Arcarese said she feels a real kinship with Southeast Colorado Springs.
“The diversity, the people, the community coming together so closely mirrors where I grew up,” she said.
She helps entrepreneurs here get off to a great start through her business CArc Consulting.
“When they call me and tell me, ‘We got our food trailer,’ or ‘We got our business loan,’ that is so amazing,” she said.
Arcarese recently helped facilitate the distribution of $13.8 million in CARES Act grants through El Paso County and the Colorado Enterprise Fund to small businesses. She is proud that 56 percent of the awardees are women, minority and veteran owners — a number that tops the national figures for the program.
Personally, she is overjoyed that all of her five children are headed toward helping professions.
“I have to say, it’s because they watched their parents serve other people,” she said. “I’m very proud of that.”