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Success stories

Sequoia Diner, Oakland

Sequoia Diner is a unique restaurant owned by husband and wife Andrew Vennari and Sequoia Broderson. Located in the Laurel District of Oakland, the restaurant will serve breakfast and lunch Wednesday through Sunday. Andrew and Sequoia have a large handful of experiences in the food business. Andrew has cooked professionally for 12 years and was sous chef at Camino and Duende, while Sequoia has abundant front-house experience. Sequoia Diner will serve local, sustainable and organic ingredients, including pasture eggs and their bread, pastries, bacon, sausages, and jams are all made in-house.  The diner’s old school vibe creates a comfortable environment for anyone looking to find a friendly location to dine.  Their location is traditionally known for being a neighborhood eatery and for the last 18 years was the Full House Café.  Andrew and Sequoia’s experience, creativity and community orientation is continuing this long standing tradition in the Laurel District.

Archery Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz

Congratulations to Archery Santa Cruz owners Ian Garner and Erica Gregory on your one-year business anniversary! Ian and Erica are both skilled USA Archery Instructors and passionate about their archery instruction and equipment business which includes lessons, public shooting, camps, after school archery club, birthday parties, and much more. Archery is the fastest growing sport in the country, so if you’re a beginner interested in learning or a skilled archer wishing to brush up on your skills, head over to Archery Santa Cruz located on Walnut Avenue.

Hydra-Point Nursery, Watsonville

Antonio "Tony" Barcelo contacted the SBDC at Cabrillo College in June of 2013 and requested assistance to start a nursery business called Hydra-Point in Watsonville. Previously, he had been Vice President of his family's palm tree nursery business for 27 years, and he was ready to branch out on his own. Tony wished to specialize in the production of hydrangea and poinsettia plants, thus the name Hydra-Point. He was referred to Danny Braga, SBDC Business Financing Advisor, to begin the process of applying for a loan. We are so pleased that Tony received the financing he was seeking from Cal Coastal, our local, non-profit lending partner. Congratulations Tony on your thriving business! 

Mission Hill Creamery, Santa Cruz

Mission Hill Creamery handcrafts premium-quality ice cream and desserts made from the finest, freshest, local organic ingredients. Ice cream-obsessed Chef/Owner Dave Kumec established the shop on Pacific Avenue as the first of its kind in Santa Cruz. His ice cream is also sold at Whole Foods, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, New Leaf Community Markets and Staff of Life. Congratulations Dave on your recent expansion and thriving business!

Zen Island Gift Shops, Santa Cruz

Congratulations to owner Carrie Hunter of Zen Island Gift Shops on your growing businesses located on 41st Avenue in Santa Cruz and on San Jose Avenue in Capitola Village! Zen Island specializes in coastal décor, beach lifestyle apparel and jewelry, local art work and body care products. Their large inventory of products from around the world was designed with the relaxed Zen Island Lifestyle in mind. As a family owned and operated business, Carrie’s business is truly a dream come true. Dog, cell phone, ice cream and beverage friendly!

Ay Dios Mio, San Jose

“Young entrepreneur shares passion for Latino culture”

Ay Dios Mio was founded by Rose Mendoza in 2009. Chicana born and raised in California, her goal is to share her lifelong passion of preserving and celebrating Latino culture, through a fantastic collection of Latino ‘arte popular’ decor, jewelry, bags, accessories and vintage religious products. Ay Dios Mio a unique ‘boutique de arte popular’ representing Mexican Folk Art & Latino Urban Lifestyle located in downtown San José.

First Street Market, San Jose

Omar is passionate about constantly innovating and improving his store in order to cater to the needs of the community he serves. Being located in the Washington Neighborhood areas of the Downtown San Jose region, Omar serves a predominately low-income community. He has also been able to hire several residents from the community. First Street Market began moving more towards a grocery store that offered healthy items ranging from produce to healthy snacks and low sodium canned food. Omar genuinely cares about his customers and has truly incorporated the mission of making a healthy lifestyle more available to his community.

P.A.R.T.I. Program, San Jose

“Youth organization molds leaders of tomorrow”

The Positive Alternative Recreation Teambuilding Impact program (PARTI) has been in existence since 2001. As a 501c3 organization (tax exempt non-profit), its purpose is to build today’s youth into the leaders of tomorrow through education, leadership development, mentoring, making healthy choices, and volunteerism in the community.  The organization’s founder, Winston Ashby, spends a great deal of time working with youth at the high school and middle school levels on San Jose’s eastside. The organization is largely dependent on grants and fundraisers to further its mission, sustain its employees, and continue to increase its revenues.

PARTI operates programs for youth in both Northern and Southern California. Due to his dedicated work with youth, Winston has inspired many of students to realize their dream of going to college and building a career for themselves. One of the program’s most famous graduates appeared as a finalist on the TV show “American Idol”.   

Davidson Films Inc., Silicon Valley

Davidson Films, Inc. is a small, family-owned and operated documentary film company that specializes in producing educational content for college-level courses   including psychology, neuroscience, and early childhood development. Daughter Jean and her husband Trent want to continue her family’s legacy in producing premium documentary content for consumption in the U.S. and international markets. With their academic and professional background combined, Jean and Trent shared a passion in higher education, and were determined to acquire the family business and take it to the next level. They had decided to become the new owners and were eagerly seeking capital to finance acquisition of the family-run business.

Atagol Fitness, San Jose

“New mom launches family friendly fitness program”

As a stay at home mom, Julie Schnitzer, wanted to start a fitness program for other new moms in the Los Gatos area. She felt that her experience with fitness combined with the busy schedule of new mom’s would enable her to connect with others in the community; offering fitness and bonding time to other mom’s and their children.