Success Stories – Men

  • Tim Obert & Clint Potter, Seven Stills Brewery Tim Obert & Clint Potter, Seven Stills BrewerySeven Stills Brewery began as a bootstrapped business in a garage, making whiskeys from craft beers. Tim Obert and Clint Potter, who became friends at UC Santa Cruz, started brewing and distilling for fun at Clint’s parents’ house in Novato. 
  • Karim Kaderali, Santa Barbara Axxess Karim Kaderali, Santa Barbara AxxessSanta Barbara Axxess was founded by Karim Kaderali and a friend in Santa Barbara, California in 1999. By creating an upscale local Membership Program that was unique and trackable, they figured out how to bring local businesses the right local customers. Shortly after launch, they received a startup loan from WEV to print the physical books for their ...
  • Don & Jake McPeck, Mess Hall Canteen Don & Jake McPeck, Mess Hall CanteenDon McPeck started his business with only an idea. His gourmet food truck, Mess Hall Canteen, got started thanks to The Food Network. An appearance on the show Food Truck Faceoff gave Mess Hall Canteen a vehicle — in more ways than one.
  • Pancho Kachingwe, The Hatch Pancho Kachingwe founded The Hatch Oakland Bar & Restaurant in 2014 to cater to a booming downtown Oakland. “Everything was self-funded,” he recalls. “It was myself doing the cooking, bartending, cleaning, shopping, everything.” But the business grew fast, and by year two, he had 18 employees.
  • Matt Maxwell, BoltAbout The idea to start BoltAbout came to Matt Maxwell in November 2015, when he was frustrated by public transportation options. He found the perfect alternative in the form of electric bikes. In April 2016, he decided to turn this passion into a business by launching a pilot program to lease a small fleet of e-bikes ...
  • Donald Jacko Sr., DAD Services Donald Jacko Sr., DAD Services DAD Services of Oakland, California is a janitorial company that specializes in providing top-notch commercial cleaning for San Francisco Bay Area businesses. The company was established in 1998 by Donald Jacko Sr., a native Oakland resident, and has always been a minority-owned, family-run business. DAD Services serves a diverse group of clients including medical institutions, ...
  • Koji Kanematsu, Onigilly Koji Kanematsu, Onigilly Onigilly is a fast-casual restaurant chain specializing in Japanese rice balls, called “onigiri.” Koji Kanematsu founded Onigilly in 2007, after noticing a lack of healthy, affordable food options in the United States. “In Japan, onigiri is everywhere,” says Koji. “I used to eat it every day because it is convenient, healthy, and affordable. Our mission is ...
  • Daniel Palacios, Berkeley Pizza Daniel Palacios, Berkeley Pizza In the fallout of the 2008 Great Recession, Daniel Palacios — then a real estate investor in San Diego — wanted to reinvent himself in another industry. During this phase, Palacios recalled the hearty stuffed pizzas he regularly craved from establishments like Zachary’s when he studied at UC Berkeley. Then it dawned on him: There was ...
  • Manuel Guerrero, Hope Cafe and Creperie Manuel Guerrero, Hope Cafe and Creperie Manuel Guerrero grew up surrounded by a family of entrepreneurs. He embraced this spirit and chose to pursue his entrepreneurial passion through his love of food. After attending culinary school in Mexico where he focused on international cuisine, Manuel furthered his learning by completing a barista training program in Seattle, Washington.
  • Saul Chavez, El Gran Taco Loco Saul Chavez, El Gran Taco Loco “I felt like I had lost everything. When something like this happens, it’s hard to stay positive.” That’s how Mexican immigrant Saul Chavez, co-owner of El Gran Taco Loco with his spouse Angelica Quezada, describes his emotions following the destruction of his commercial space in the Mission and 29th streets fire in June 2016. Chavez’ popular Mexican food ...
  • Keba Konte, Red Bay Coffee Keba Konte, Red Bay Coffee Keba Konte has demonstrated his commitment to creating good jobs for people in Oakland, California. In fact, over the years he’s created over fifty jobs through three enterprises. But, when he went to his bank to secure funding to open a new wholesale coffee roastery and cafe, he was turned down.
  • James Holtslag, The Heart and Trotter James Holtslag, The Heart and Trotter Civic San Diego provided Accion San Diego, a nonprofit microlender, $400,000 in lending capital from the Civic San Diego Loan Fund in 2017. This capital is supporting small businesses in communities that have a median household income of $60,000 or below. One of the businesses who received funds was The Heart and Trotter Butchery located ...
  • Christopher McMichael and Maurion Gaines, Threadz Culture + Fashion Christopher McMichael and Maurion Gaines, Threadz Culture + Fashion Before they started their business, Christopher McMichael and Maurion Gaines came together over their shared passion for music. In 2012 when Chris was working security and kept hitting ceilings as he tried to advance in his career, he decided to pursue his clothing line full time. “My clothing line had already had some success. I ...
  • Tyrone Botelho and Tiffany Hoang, Circle Up Education Tyrone Botelho and Tiffany Hoang, Circle Up Education
  • Javier Zamora, JSM Organics Javier Zamora, JSM Organics
  • Stardusted Events, Joze Lopez Stardusted Events, Joze Lopez
  • Andrei Sobolev and Serhiy Misiruk, Creative Millworks, Inc. Andrei Sobolev and Serhiy Misiruk, Creative Millworks, Inc. When banks wouldn’t give Andrei Sobolev and Serhiy Misiruk a loan, they found a solution with Opening Doors. Now, they get frequent loan offers from those banks and can choose where they’ll take their business.
  • Martín Madriz, The Green Waffle Martín Madriz, The Green Waffle In mid-2015, Martín Madriz found himself uncertain how to get his waffles off of the griddle and into grocery stores. El Pajaro CDC’s Kitchen Incubator gave him the space and support he needed.
  • Nancy and David Ortiz, Buenaventura Travel Agency Nancy and David Ortiz, Buenaventura Travel Agency Colombian immigrants Nancy and David Ortiz have been running Buenaventura Travel Agency since 1983, but needed to upgrade their equipment to compete with online booking firms. Thanks to a $5,000 MMS loan from Working Solutions they were able to make the changes they needed.
  • Aureliano Lopez, Tacos el Tizon Women’s Economic Ventures helped Aureliano Lopez formalize his business, and put him on a solid footing so he can expand it new locations.
  • Jatinder Mann, Tranquility Market A loan from Fresno CDFI in 2014 helped Jatinder Mann purchase the store that he had been leasing for the previous nine years.
  • Daniel Yoshimi and Jennifer Yannella, Brasil Arts Café Daniel Yoshimi and Jennifer Yannella had the passion and funding to open their own business, but needed help from WEV putting their business plan together and keeping focused.
  • Paul LaRocco, LaRocco’s Pizzeria Despite having run two successful restaurants, banks considered Paul LaRocco’s pizzeria “too new” because he was self-employed. Thankfully, Pacific Coast Regional was there to get him the loan he needed to grow.
  • David Aragon, Araparts David Aragon loved cars from an early age, and had made enough money from reselling hard-to-find car parts — including one discontinued part that he’d had to re-produce himself — to open his own business. He was ready and eager to grow, but banks weren’t willing to lend to him due to his youth. He ...
  • Abraham Lopez, YucaTech Technology Solutions Abraham Lopez, YucaTech Technology Solutions Abraham Lopez immigrated from Mexico in 1998, and worked hard to master English and earn an Associate’s Degree in Computer Information Systems, all to further his dream of opening his own electronics repair store. Thanks to help from Renaissance Marin and their Small Business Development Center, he is now the proud owner of YucaTech Technology ...
  • Javad Yaghoubi, City Shade Javad Yaghoubi, City Shade When a sunglasses cart in the mall went up for sale, Javad jumped at the opportunity. He purchased the business in November of 2014, but needed more capital for inventory. Opening Doors helped Javad create a strong business plan and cash flow projections, and in December approved him for an $8,000 loan.
  • Al and Tamanna Rahman, Garden of Roses Al and Tamanna Rahman, Garden of Roses Al and Tamanna Rahman got married and opened a florist shop. They needed $12,500 to buy a cooler, but were turned down by the bank. Luckily, CDC Small Business Finance was there with a microloan to help them grow.
  • Michael Barriere, BarrierEnergy Associates Michael Barriere, BarrierEnergy Associates Inspired by the economic downturn to diversify his development agency, Michael Barriere turned to Women’s Economic Ventures for the training and microloans he needed to launch BarrierEnergy Associates.
  • Ryan Farr, 4505 Meats Ryan Farr, 4505 Meats In 2012, Working Solutions client Ryan Farr, founder of 4505 Meats, sought advice from a Working Solutions mentor for his rapidly expanding business. Two years later, Ryan has graduated from his Working Solutions microloan, obtained conventional financing, and opened a new barbecue restaurant in San Francisco! Ryan had created a whopping 70 jobs in San ...
  • Max Aram & Chris Blevins, PickMySolar.com Max Aram & Chris Blevins, PickMySolar.com PCR SBDC Business Advisors Martha G. Castro and Harold C. Hart-Nibbrig helped Max Aram figure out how to monetize his idea, conduct market research, develop a business plan with financial projections, incorporate the business and develop a partnership agreement once Chris Blevins came on board.
  • Jeremy LeBlanc and Chad Berkey, Tin Play Jeremy LeBlanc and Chad Berkey, Tin Play After four years of development, Jeremy and Chad were ready to launch their line of speciality bartending tools, but needed a small loan to get started. Thankfully, Accion San Diego was there to fill the gap with a $25,000 microloan.
  • Pedro Zerpa, Fusion Peruvian Grill Pedro Zerpa, Fusion Peruvian Grill An immigrant from Peru, Pedro Zerpa worked his way up from dishwasher to head chef of a San Francisco restaurant with no formal culinary education. After 15 years as a chef, Pedro was ready to strike out on his own, and opened Fusion Peruvian Grill in San Mateo. He needed a microloan to expand his ...
  • Alfredo Garcia, Watsonville Diesel Alfredo Garcia, Watsonville Diesel Alfredo Garcia had twenty years of experience in diesel trucking, but needed some business development training to grow Watsonville Diesel. Thanks to the firm foundation of strategy and financial management training that CAMEO member El Pajaro CDC provided, he was able to open a second location and make progress toward becoming an international dealer.
  • Harvey Ledesma, Ledesma Optometry Harvey Ledesma, Ledesma Optometry Thanks to a $25,000 microloan from CDC Small Business Finance and business training from Inland Empire SBDC, Dr. Ledesma was able to retain five jobs, increase inventory and generate an additional $200,000 in revenue at his small optometry business.
  • Bernardo Ayala, Napa Valley Bistro Bernardo Ayala, Napa Valley Bistro Already a successful chef, Bernardo Ayala got the technical assistance and one-on-one support he needed to open his own restaurant from Napa-Sonoma SBDC.
  • Davin Vculek and Joe Blanton, Krush Burger Davin Vculek and Joe Blanton, Krush Burger Krush Burger has expanded to two brick and mortar locations plus a fleet of food trucks thanks to high-quality food, a robust social media presence, and a small business loan from CAMEO member SAFE-BIDCO.
  • Christy & Al Kroell, ChristyAl Plaques Christy & Al Kroell, ChristyAl Plaques Thanks to training from an SBA SCORE chapter and a timely loan from Fresno CDFI, veterans Christy and Al Kroell were able to purchase the laser engraver they needed to launch their small business.
  • Gregory King, Postcards Gregory King, Postcards Gregory King had an MBA and years of experience in the corporate world, but the help he received from Pacific Coast Regional helped take Postcards, his soul food truck micro-business, from idea to reality.
  • Beny Benjamini, License2Bling Beny Benjamini, License2Bling Thanks to help from Pacific Coast Regional, Beny Benjamini was able to obtain a $200,000 business loan for his small business creating crystal studded license plate holders.
  • John & Maria Harrison, Tea Gallerie John & Maria Harrison, Tea Gallerie John and Maria Harrison’s San Diego-based small business was able to double its revenues and hire two new employees thanks to a loan from Accion San Diego.
  • Luis Abundis, Nieves Cinco de Mayo Luis Abundis, Nieves Cinco de Mayo Luis Abundis’ Oakland-based small business grew to include multiple stores thanks to help from Centro Community Partners.
  • Fredy Gamez, Mission Street Oyster Bar Fredy Gamez, Mission Street Oyster Bar Small business owner Fredy Gamez opened the Mission Street Oyster Bar thanks to technical assistance from MEDA and a microloan from Working Solutions.
  • Larry Knowles, Rising Tide Sea Vegetables Larry Knowles, Rising Tide Sea Vegetables Larry Knowles, owner of Rising Tide Sea Vegetables, identified problems and opportunities for his small business thanks to help from West Company.
  • Tom Ball, Orland Meat Processors Tom Ball, Orland Meat Processors After being laid off, Tom Ball opened Orland Meat Processors. Thanks to a loan from 3CORE, his micro-business was able to replace its roof and refinance at a much lower interest rate.
  • Kamal Mansoor, K.A.S. Auto Sales Kamal Mansoor, K.A.S. Auto Sales Kamal Mansoor opened his own micro-business thanks to a microloan from CAMEO member Opening Doors.
  • Lucas & Marcia, Universal Art Gallery Lucas & Marcia, Universal Art Gallery Lucas and Marcia Da Silva, owners of the Universal Art Gallery in Los Angeles, have been in the custom art framing business for 16 years, and were facing an all too familiar problem: the need to expand versus the fear of an uncertain economy. With the help of VEDC and a Citywide Small Business ...
  • Masaki’s Mongolian Grill Masaki's Mongolian Grill Eric and Jeni Masaki had a business problem—albeit a good one—their Kyoto Japanese Restaurant was so popular, the owners had a hard time meeting customer demand. After a few years of running this successful business, the Masakis decided to expand, thanks to a loan from CAMEO member Arcata Economic Development Corporation.
  • Jorge and Oscar Flores, Don Polvoron Bakery Jorge and Oscar Flores, Don Polvoron Bakery Tired of driving, in 2005 Jorge Flores sold his house and approached his brother Oscar about opening their own place. They bought a donut shop and Don Polvoron Bakery was born. Jorge would run the sales side and Oscar would run the baking. The shop was in a mostly Latino area, so instead of donuts, ...
  • John Falcon, Falcon Builders John Falcon, Falcon Builders Falcon Builders has 10 employees. John is known as the “go-to” person on government contracting issues and is a leader in his local Disabled Veteran’s organization. He received vital training from CAMEO member Central Valley Business Incubator.
  • Bruce Erickson & Maggie Watson, Mendocino Solar Bruce Erickson & Maggie Watson, Mendocino Solar Bruce Erickson and Maggie Watson were employed by Mendocino Solar and then bought out the owner in 2005. To transition from employees to the boss, they met with West Company consultants who assisted them with financial planning, employee management, social media, and funding that included a $12,00 stimulus grant and a $95,000 business loan.
  • Kevin Ho & Juan Miron, MIHO Gastrotruck Kevin Ho & Juan Miron, MIHO Gastrotruck Co-owners Kevin Ho and Juan Miron met while working in the restaurant industry and shared a passion for gathering friends and family around good food. In the spring of 2010, they launched MIHO Gastrotruck, a food truck that provided locally sourced, natural, healthy, good food.  One of the biggest hurdles they crossed was financing. They weren’t ...
  • William Ortiz, Gentle Parking William Ortiz was able to found and grow Gentle Parking thanks to training and support he received from CAMEO member Mission Economic Development Agency.
  • Jason T., Semper Fi Security Jason T., Semper Fi Security Marine Jason T. launched Semper Fi Security with the help of Goodwill of Orange County.
  • Chai Lee, Chai’s Cleaning Service Chai Lee, Chai's Cleaning Service Escaping the harsh realities of life in a refugee camp was a victory for Chai and his family, but he had to re-build his life. Chai liked the idea of owning a business. He had no credit history and very little collateral, but wanted to buy a janitorial franchise. Because of an $8,000 loan ...
  • Jen & Oscar Carpinteyro, Rewind Audio Jen & Oscar Carpinteyro, Rewind Audio SIPA helped Jen and Oscar Carpinteyro clarify their plans and goals for Rewind Audio, their vintage audio store.
  • Cortland Avenue Corridor Cortland Avenue Corridor San Francisco – An unprecedented number of small businesses in the Cortland Avenue Corridor are utilizing an important asset in the San Francisco small business community. Working Solutions, a local nonprofit microlender is providing much-needed capital to businesses that need small loans that traditional banks won’t touch. And creating jobs in the process – ...
  • Galen Garretson, Town Cutler Galen Garretson, Town Cutler San Francisco – Galen saw beautiful sushi-grade fish lose their clean line, vegetables chopped in non-uniform sizes, and butchers turn red because of rough cuts. Finally fed up with this problem, he put down his chef’s hat and replaced it with a whetstone.
  • Chris & Jennifer Saint, Sweet Treats San Diego – One day at a friend’s party, Chris, Jennifer and some others were reminiscing about the ice cream truck when they were kids – the excitement they had when they heard the music, the breathlessness from running in the house, scrounging for change and hoping you didn’t miss the truck, eating the peanuts ...
  • Ted Sheets, Advanced Signs Ted Sheets, Advanced Signs
  • JJ Lee & Chris Lord, Overtone Productions JJ Lee & Chris Lord, Overtone Productions
  • Johneric Concordia, The Park’s Finest The Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program helped Johneric Concordia find the $12,000 he needed to open The Park’s Finest.