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San Diego District Office
550 West C Street Suite 550
San Diego, CA 92101
United States
Phone: 619-557-7250 or 619-727-4883
Fax: 619-557-5894

Small Business Owner Receives SBA Loan to Purchase New Equipment

Gutter Werks, Inc., a family-owned business, was started in 1998 by Brad Howe and his son Joshua. No stranger to the industry, Brad actually started working in the rain gutter business in 1976. The experience provided him with a sound foundation when starting Gutter Werks, Inc. The company offers installation of a seamless rain system that comes in 40 colors and is formed on site creating a virtually seamless and superior product.

Brad and Joshua started small, getting a contractor’s license, placing an ad in the phone book, and distributing flyers. Today, Gutter Werks, Inc., has grown to include five full-time employees and two part-time employees. Brad and his son enjoy self-employment, but sometimes wish there were more hours in the day to get everything done. They also believe in giving back to the community and do so by installing rain systems on drug rehabilitation centers and battered woman shelters at no charge.

Their goal is to grow Gutter Werks, Inc., into a well-known, successful business while continuing to maintain a great reputation within the industry. Recently, Gutter Werks, Inc., acquired an SBA-guaranteed line of credit which will allow for better cash flow and provide funds to purchase new equipment.

Additional information on SBA loan programs is available on the Internet at or
by telephone at (619) 557-7250.

Small Business Owner Seeks Advice from SBDC, Achieves Growth

In 1997, Matt Meis, now a 30-year veteran in the jewelry industry, was laid off from his job with a local diamond importer. He decided it was time to start his own business, Matt Meis Goldsmith. For years, while working various jobs in the jewelry business, from craftsman to retail store manager to wholesale salesman, he had been creating and selling jewelry privately to family and friends which led to referrals creating a broader customer base. Eventually he felt he had created a niche market for fine jewelry customers looking for an alternative to the traditional retail store buying experience. He provides a convenient, high quality, competitively priced option for clients looking for specialty fine jewelry.

Matt’s clients have nick named him the “wandering jeweler” since he goes to his clients rather than having them come to him. Matt prides himself on his ability to work closely and patiently with each customer to satisfy their fine jewelry needs, in the comfort of their own homes or offices. Earlier this year, when Matt incorporated his 8-year-old business, he chose Wandering Jeweler as its official name.

In the spring of 1998 Matt sought assistance from the SBDC to create a business plan for his new venture. In October of 2003, Matt once again contacted the Small Business Development Center – North County (SBDC-NC). This time he wanted to expand his client base and sales. The SBDC-NC worked with Meis to develop a revised marketing plan, in which he incorporated direct marketing strategies and promotional ideas. The SBDC-NC also counseled Meis on creating opportunities for publicity utilizing local television media. This advice resulted in an on-air interview on a local news show. In addition, SBDC-NC consultant Larry Kirsch reviewed and made suggestions for re-structuring Matt’s website to more effectively showcase his products. As the end of 2005 approaches, Matt is on track to report an approximate sales increase of 40% over the 2-year period since 2003.

To find out more about the SBDC-NC visit their website at or call (760) 795- 8740. The SBDC program is partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration. For information about how SBA can assist your business, visit our website at or call (619) 557- 7250.


Small Business Owner Consults with SBDC, Receives SBA Loans for Expansion

The Dinner Studio was born out of the realization that almost nobody has time to cook on a regular basis anymore. More and more people are turning to convenience meals loaded with fat, salt, sugar, and preservatives or “fast food”.

Dinner Studio co-owners, Katherine Christensen and Gloria Otten, shared similar views on the need for an affordable and convenient way for families in San Diego to eat well every day. Ms. Christensen left a busy law practice to become a Professional Personal Chef and Ms. Otten, having spent most of her professional life in the field of restaurants and catering, began her career as a Professional Personal Chef when she moved to Southern California. As Professional Personal Chefs, they were constantly meeting people who could use a little (or a lot) of help in the kitchen. So they put their heads together and created The Dinner Studio, which marries the best aspects of a personal chef service and fast meal preparation at an affordable price. And it’s fun!

Katherine and Gloria strive to provide an environment where busy people can still prepare “home cooked” meals for their families in a homemade atmosphere, with fun, friends, and a lot of help. The Dinner Studio’s goal is to create a space in which someone can create the bulk of their household’s monthly meals in a few hours, with as little stress and as much help as possible.

The Dinner Studio opened its first location in 2003 in Vista and then added a second location in Tierrasanta this June. The expansion was funded in part by SBA-guaranteed loans through US Bank. The two locations enjoy a regular clientele of 800 families today, and with the planned addition of several new locations, have a goal of expanding that number to 1,600 by the end of 2006.

Katherine and Gloria are clients of the Small Business Development Center – North San Diego County. In the beginning, they received help developing their marketing plan, consultation regarding the process of incorporating, and more. To find out more about the SBDC visit their website at The SBDC is partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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