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Success stories

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.

Wang Wah Restaurant, San Francisco

“Restaurant enjoys growth after unexpected damages”

Wang Wah is a Chinese restaurant focusing on gourmet Cantonese style cuisine. Opening in 1987, the Xu family has served the community out of the same location for the past 27 years. As a local, family operated hotspot, Wang Wah has been able to build a loyal following of customers, serving some for over 20 years. 

Thalia's Jewelry, San Francisco

Araceli and Fernando started their jewelry business in 1995 and named it Thalia’s Jewelry in honor of their first daughter. Fernando learned the jewelry trade at the early age of eight in Acapulco, Mexico from his family and is now the third generation to continue the tradition. For decades, local patrons have been visiting their store to repair family heirlooms or memorialize special life events with jewelry for graduations, quinceañeras, weddings or special gifts.  Like other’s affected, the fire disrupted their entire lives and left the business owners with only what they could salvage.  Now, months after the incident, Araceli and Fernando are working hard to rebuild what they lost, but are grateful for the opportunity to continue being a part of the Mission District, serving the local community, and doing what they love.

One Planet Granola, San Francisco

One Planet is dedicated to nourishing families all over the planet with delicious and organic foods, made from all the highest quality ingredients. Family company, Rana, Sandra and Issa Madanat, launched One Planet from their small town café in Ross, California in 2010. The company believes their granola and sustainable practices, reflects the deep belief that living consciously is the essence of our own wellbeing and the planet.

One Planet organic and gluten free granola is currently selling at Whole Foods, Raleys, Nob Hill Foods and other independent groceries; through established distributors, such as Renaissance Specialty Foods, The Good Stuff Distributor, Nature’s Best and DPI Specialty Foods; and direct to corporate offices, vending machines and e-commerce avenues with amazon and

Clay Pot House, San Francisco

“Bay Area restaurant rebounds after fire”

The Clay Pot House (formerly known as Taishan Café) is a Chinese restaurant specialized in authentic dishes originating from Taishan City, Guandong Province, China. The business started in Sacramento in 2003 and then relocated to San Francisco in 2012. Taishan City is the hometown to one of the earliest ethnic groups of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco, as well as in North America. It’s estimated that there’re about 170,000 Chinese American with Taishan origin in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Alicia K Designs, San Francisco

“Event planner secures loan for critical expansion”

Alicia K. Designs is a leading San Francisco based full-service event company. Before coming to the SBDC, Alicia Falango, owner of Alicia K. Designs, was in the midst of a classic business financing conundrum. After experiencing rapid growth and expansion from 2010-2012, the company had hired additional employees, moved into a larger leased premises and purchased vehicles and additional equipment. This large increase in overhead enabled the company to commit to serve more customers, but the wedding event industry stalled in 2013, as a significant number of weddings were deferred to avoid a marriage in a year ending in “13”. While still profitable, the investment in expansion had tied up cash needed for further growth.