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Success stories

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.

iExperts, Arcata

“iPhone business grows exponentially”

Alister Shirazi founded iExperts in 2011 when he identified an unmet need for iphone repair services in Humboldt County.  He soon expanded his repair services to include iPads and iPods and now operates a storefront in Arcata and kiosk at the Bayshore Mall in Eureka.
iExperts repair cracked screens, broken buttons, offer battery replacements, charge dock replacements, software support and more.  The company also unlocks iPhones so that they will work abroad with any carrier. The company offers free consultation and will not charge for time if they cannot successfully repair a device.

Dirty Business Soil, Arcata

“Young entrepreneurs win $25,000 in seed capital”

Dirty Business Soil Consulting & Analysis (DBS) offers premium agricultural testing and consulting services. While the company does provide general soil and water services, such as wetland delineation and general testing, DBS has developed a niche in testing and analyzing soils with a specific emphasis on crop management. The company analyzes soil samples for private and commercial growers and can specifically identify the nutrients needed to increase soil health and production success. 

Plum Blossom Farm, Cloverdale

“Sonoma artisan expands web presence”

Plum Blossom Farm is an artisan retail company that creates decorative and functional fiber products. Using the exceptionally unique wool from her flock of Wensleydale sheep, owner Carole Balala creates items such as wool scarves, purses, dryer balls, felted soaps, and ornaments. PBF also sells kits to crafters and raw fiber to people who spin their own yarn.
Unlike other farms, animals at PBF are guaranteed a forever home, and no animals are ever sent to slaughter when they are done being “useful.” Carole sees her animals as members of the family, and customers can feel good knowing their dollars support a small compassionate farm.

Napa Valley Bistro, Napa

“Experienced Napa county chef opens new bistro”

Executive Chef of Silverado Brewing Company, Bernardo Ayala, is a long term client of the SBDC who has taken advantage of the Napa-Sonoma program for several years. During that time, he has attended workshops and worked with Business Advisor Charlie Monahan to meet his businesses goals in food and labor costs, as well as in management functions such as meetings. In early spring of 2013, Bernardo contacted Advisor Monahan with the idea of creating an American Bistro in a vacant restaurant in downtown Napa. Bernardo requested assistance organizing tasks, creating a calendar timeline and a process of determining the feasibility of opening the restaurant.

Munselle Civil Engineering, Healdsburg

“Engineering firm achieves 88% annual growth”

Munselle Civil Engineering is a consulting civil engineering firm that offers a full range of civil engineering and land planning services from preliminary design through construction. Owner, Cort Munselle, began working as a licensed civil engineer in 2000 and opened Munselle Civil Engineering in 2007. MCE’s experience includes subdivision entitlements and design, private residential estates, commercial development, vineyard erosion control plans, reservoir design and winery site design.

It is the goal of the company to provide innovative and cost effective engineering while providing the client with the highest level of customer service. They establish working relationships with each client by providing timely and efficient project turnaround through quality engineering design. MCE’s experience with regulatory agencies in Sonoma and Napa counties helps clients understand and manage the various complicated processes throughout the engineering stages of development and creates a more positive experience through the life of each job.