Jose and Lynne Pereira established Pereira Plumbing in 1990 but have actually been in business since the late-1970s. They started out in the pool service business, moved into plumbing, then began installing fire sprinkler systems, and now have obtained a California Class A license as a general engineering contractor.
Pereira’s business has expanded to include asphalt, renovations, painting, abatement, landscaping, HVAC, and mechanical work. Jose plans to obtain two additional licenses this year to continue with his expansion plans Pereira Plumbing is unique in that Jose has a particular talent for problem solving and is constantly trying to sharpen his knowledge and skills. He strongly believes in educating himself, as well as his employees, in all aspects of construction to find better ways to finish a job. As a result, employees are cross-trained so they may perform work in any area of construction.
Jose and Lynne Pereira feel fortunate to be certified participants in the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Program. The program has provided them with opportunities to demonstrate their proficiency as a general contractor. When utilized as intended the SBA’s 8(a) Program is an essential instrument for helping socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs gain access to the economic mainstream of American society. Lynne says, “We are extremely thankful for the doors opened to us through the SBA.” Additionally, Lynne was happy to inform us that Pereira Plumbing was recently accepted into the City of San Diego’s Mentor/Protégé Program and had their first opportunity to work in the City’s Minor Construction Program.
Lynne’s advice to other small businesses is to “keep knocking and stand up for what you think is right. Compromise when it’s the right thing to do. Seek out all opportunities, total dedication is a must; it’s not easy by any means. Customer service is priority one, it seems to have diminished in the industry over the years. Accept every opportunity for assistance that is out there, but be sure it makes sense and your instincts tell you it’s right.”
Dorance Aldridge is not just a business owner, he’s also a cook—Southern Creole and Cajun style. He developed his Creole sauces while operating his restaurant in the South Bay. In 2004, he approached the Small Business Development & International Trade Center (SBDITC) to help him make his sales as hot as his sauces.
Since then, Aldridge has worked to expand his distribution as well as his product line. He met with SBDITC Consultant Matt Yubas to review Brendory’s position in the marketplace and develop tactics to improve that position.
Aldridge also worked with SBDITC Consultant Larry Kirsch to refine his marketing materials. “Both Matt and Larry went out of their way to get information pertinent to my business, specifically,” said Aldridge.
To date, Dorance Aldridge and his partner and wife, Brenda, have increased sales greatly and added new products, including Andouille sausage. The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard now serve food made with Brendory’s Creole sauce. Aldridge works with the culinary staff to maximize the versatility of the Brendory’s products stocked onboard. The products have proved so popular with the troops that Aldridge’s sales to the military are up by 30%, and his products are served on 38 vessels.
Explaining his product’s appeal, Aldridge said, “It’s easy to touch all walks of life with the Creole sauce, it’s a flavor that people are familiar with.”
Carlsbad resident Joan Colvin was no different than a lot of inventors and entrepreneur types. She had what she thought was a winning product idea but wasn’t sure what to do with it or how to get started licensing, manufacturing, marketing, distributing and ultimately profiting from it.
The product concept evolved from an activity she planned for guests attending her daughter’s fifth birthday party. The children stuffed small pillows labeled with positive character traits like responsibility, friendship, fairness, honesty and courage into empty teddy bears, bringing the bears to life in their imaginations. The activity provided a fun and imaginative way to teach character traits to children and prompted healthy discussion between parent and child about the value and importance of these traits.
“I had so many ideas and found myself in new territory,” said Colvin, a busy wife, business owner and mother of two young children ages seven and four. “I knew I needed help, but didn’t know where to turn. That’s when my good friend and old boss recommended SCORE. They have many different counselors, both active and retired, who have varied backgrounds along with the business experience I needed to learn from.” So Colvin began signing up for and attending SCORE’s low-cost, educational workshops on business-related topics. Colvin also took full advantage of SCORE’s unlimited, personalized business counseling, offered free to members either online, at their own place of business, or at SCORE chapter offices and business centers throughout the county.
Two years after it was established, Colvin’s new business is thriving. The first edition of Character Bear is out on the market and is currently on sale at Legoland, specialty toy stores like Learning Express and Thinker Things, as well as online through eBay and Colvin’s own website (www.characterbear.com). She is currently in negotiations to take the initial product concept into a licensed property with another company founded by Tom Wilson, who is better known for drawing the famous Ziggy cartoon.