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After seeking advice from friends who were already in the transportation business, Edward Stanton started his airport shuttle firm - A North County Coastal Sedan - in April 2002.
Prior to starting his business, Stanton was a taxi driver for five years. After years of driving for an employer, he decided he would rather work for himself. He has no regrets about the decision and enjoys the freedom of being self-employed. Stanton’s tip to others considering going into business is do your homework and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Stanton manages his business and personal life on a day-to-day basis, dealing with any issues as they arise. Recently, he recognized a need for some additional capital to ease cash flow constraints. He solved money problems by applying for an SBA-guaranteed loan through U.S. Bank. With an approved loan of $13,000, Stanton expects to grow his business enough to purchase more vehicles and hire additional drivers over the next two years.
In addition to providing federal guaranteed loans to small businesses, SBA offers a variety of free and low-cost training workshops, counseling and consulting services to current business owners and budding entrepreneurs through such resource partners as SCORE (Senior Corps of Retired Executives), Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers. For more information on SBA loan programs and counseling and training services, please call SBA at (619) 557-7250 or visit the agency’s local Website at www.sba.gov/ca/sandiego.
Country Fresh Market, located in Historical Uptown Whittier, is a true success story. The specialty retailing food store is the brain child of Pete and Devon Jimenez and was started with proceeds from an SBA Pre-Qualification Loan, funded by Bank of America. A subsequent SBA guaranteed credit line was provided by B of A to help with working capital and operational needs.
Whittians flock to Country Fresh to avail themselves of the freshest vegetables, expertly butchered meat, bountiful grocery items, and many Hispanic Specialty items. Denizens from the surrounding municipalities rave incessantly about the homemade salsa, guacamole and heavenly carne asada; thus, the store has become a one stop gormandized excursion. Its regulars find the 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 7 days a week very convenient and feel welcomed by the family-owned atmosphere and friendly customer service.
The market captures the essence of Trader Joe’s but with a Latin Touch. Its Hispanic delicacies are constantly in demand by Angelinos who have moved out of state or to Canada. Ever the entrepreneurs, Pete and Devon have capitalized on this demand. They continue to satisfy it via their highly active web site countryfreshmarket.com coupled with an efficient shipping department that uses multiple methods to guaranty over night freshness upon delivery.
Country Fresh has earned a significant amount of prestige for the enterprising couple. It has been profiled on TV several times, with the most notable coverage occurring on the Food
Network Show called Food Finds. The market was touted as one of the up and coming enterprises, and accordingly was named the Best Small Business in Whittier. In addition, the
physical plant received an award for being the Best Historical Renovation in Whittier. Kudos are also in order for the 15 jobs that were created by these two risk takers who were not afraid to assume debt to achieve their aspirations. Country Fresh Market is located at 7601 Greenleaf Ave, Whittier, CA 90602, (562) 696-1921.
Los Angeles District Director Alberto Alvarado reiterates a theme common to many small businesses in his tri-county service area. “The Jimenez family epitomizes the true meaning of the word entrepreneur”, cites Mr. Alvarado. “They willingly assumed the risk of debt to leverage their assets, and consequently are entitled to enjoy the fruit of their labor”. The director further added, “We must additionally recognize the fact that Whittier also benefited from their ingenuity by virtue of the new jobs that Country Fresh created in the community.”
For additional information on SBA Loan Programs and Services call the Los Angeles District Office at (818) 552-3201 or visit the SBA’s user friendly web site at www.sba.gov.
Before import businesswoman Yi Ping Mohyi connected with SCORE: Counselors to America’s Small Business, her giftware and decorative accessories business specializing in silk butterflies, bees, dragonflies and flowers was marginally successful. But after attending one of SCORE’s regular workshops on Internet marketing and being taken under the wing of instructor/counselor Marty Weiss, it was as if the silk butterfly business, Heart to Heart Gifts, Inc., of Oceanside, (www.butterflycraze.com) suddenly underwent a stunning metamorphosis, sprouted wings and literally took off.
Mohyi first learned about SCORE’s small business resources by picking up some literature about the organization where she registered for her business license. As the owner of a successful Internet business, Weiss used his extensive contacts to put her in touch with top flight photographers and web site designers who helped make her products look highly professional. She refined her business plan, took additional business skills workshops in sales and marketing, and sent employees for Quick Books and bookkeeping training.
“Sales had been relatively flat,” she said, “but after working with the SCORE team of counselors, things seemed to change literally overnight. Sales steadily increased week after week, and within five months of working with SCORE, they had jumped an incredible 1,900%.”
Her uniquely designed products have since been featured on ABC-TV’s Extreme Home Makeovers program, Discovery Channel’s Party Show, and MTV’s Spring Break at Disney World, and are in demand by some of Hollywood’s hottest set and costume designers. “There’s no question that SCORE changed my life and direction,” Mohyi said. “Finding SCORE was the turning point for me and my business.”