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Success stories

Bearshead Productions, Napa Valley

SBDC Counseling Assistance
Counseling from Carolynne Gamble, Napa SBDC Marketing Advisor helped bring the new “Bearshead Napa Valley” DVD to market.  Bearshead Productions is owned by James and Kerry Forbes,  St. Helena’s wine film producers and publishers, and recent SBDC NxLevel graduates.

Market Rates Insights, San Anselmo

Company Profile: Rick Barham established Market Rates Insight (MRI) in 1985 by to provide competitive rate information to financial institutions. MRI started as a one-person operation, but now employs 34 FTE, in San Anselmo California. Rate information, such as interest rates for loans and deposits, is very important to financial institutions because they directly impact business volume. In the early days of MRI, the competitive rate information was delivered to customers via direct-dial modem (very innovative for 1985) or by fax. Through the years this process was improved by leveraging the Internet, but the business model relied heavily on manual procedure and a fragmented product-delivery system.

TechPro Source, Vacaville

ADDRESS UPDATED - March 4, 2011

Background: Michael Cortez with Tech Pro Source approached the Solano College Small Business Development Center (SBDC) after being laid off from an IT position in the mortgage industry.  Rather than seeking a new job in the IT industry, Mr. Cortez decided to start his own business providing technology management services for small to medium sized businesses.  The company’s slogan is “The IT Department for Small Business.”

San Francisco Guitarworks, San Francisco

Company Profile - SF Guitarworks is a guitar repair business in San Francisco that specializes in all types of guitar repairs and a large client base in the local entertainment industry. Owner Geoff Luttrell opened the business in 2002.

Jessicurl, Arcata

Jessica “Jess” McGuinty, owner of Jessicurl, was blessed with a head of unruly curls. After devising a recipe to tame her locks with flaxseed gel, she shared her concoction with others she met in an online community dedicated to curly-haired individuals. Due to the overwhelming popularity, Jessicurl was formed and has since developed a full line of hair products for curly hair and has created a cult-following of customers. Jess can often be heard saying the Jessicurl slogan, “you have the right to remain curly.”

Folia Design, Napa Valley

Folia Design is a multi-disciplinary graphic design studio located in Napa, California, with a national base of clients. They focus on impactful communications that help clients promote, educate and entertain their audiences through print, web and package design.

CPR-FAST, Brentwood

Company Profile - CPR-FAST helps individuals, business owners and cities prepare for health emergencies. The company provides Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Training, an emergency procedure for a victim of cardiac arrest, and First Aid Training. In 2004, owner and Ohara Park Middle School Teacher Kristen Helmick and her husband Brian, a Battalion Chief with East Contra Costa Fire Department, recognized that there was a need for emergency and first aid training in Oakley and nearby Brentwood communities. Since opening, they ensure that everyone from childcare providers and firefighters to industrial works and EMT’s are confident in providing emergency care.

Pine Creek Realty, Bay Area

Company Profile - After successfully working in large banking and real estate corporations most of his life, Henry Giovannetti wanted a new challenge: owning his own business. Fortunately, while attending a downtown Concord business association meeting he heard about a 12-week training class focused on business plan development — the Contra Costa Small Business Development Center’s New Venture Training.

Heidi Marble, Fairfield

Background: At the age of 34, Heidi Marble was diagnosed with inoperable stage 3b breast cancer. It was an aggressive inflammatory form of the cancer and she was given eighteen months to live. With a young child and husband, she was determined to live and underwent a double mastectomy and endured four rounds of chemotherapy. She has written a autobiography about her experience titled, “Waiting for Wings: A Woman’s Metamorphosis Through Cancer” and created unique artwork in the form of mannequins adorned by buttons and jewelry she calls “Buttons-n-Dollars”. Every Mannequin has jewelry or buttons from people who are no longer with us. Proceeds from sales go to support the North Bay Cancer Center.

Renata’s Creperie, Arcata

Shortly after the restaurant opened our staff counselor for Renata’s Creperie went to have lunch at her new place while on his way to another appointment. Renata had asked him to drop by to see her establishment and try a crepe. The restaurant had been open for just a few weeks when the counselor dropped in for lunch. He didn’t get a chance. A line snaked out the door and the list was forty-five minutes long. This is in a town where only two restaurants take reservations at all and usually only for dinner.