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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 www.sandiegosmallbiz.org 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 www.sba.gov/ca/sandiego or call (619) 557- 7250.
The U.S. Small Business Administration recently announced the Los Angeles District Office winners of their annual Small Business Week Awards competition. The Los Angeles SBA Office covers Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties. James E. “Jim” Whitney of Burbank-headquartered First State Bank of California was selected as the 2004
Financial Services Advocate of the Year.
The Award was presented to Mr. Whitney at the SBA’s 23rd Annual Small Business Week Awards Luncheon held on Tuesday, May 25, 2004 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The luncheon was presented by Bank of America and was co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the SBA.
James E. Whitney, Senior Vice President and Manager of the SBA Loan Division at Burbankbased First State Bank of California, was acknowledged as Financial Services Advocate for his tireless efforts to advance small business lending, particularly to the underserved and emerging markets. For more than three decades, Mr. Whitney has sponsored and obtained approval for SBA guarantees with an aggregate value of $200 million utilized by approximately 1,000 small businesses.
Mr. Whitney is the co-founder of the National Association of Government Guaranteed lenders (NAGGL), the SBA lenders’ trade group, and is currently honored with Director Emeritus status. He also serves on boards of entities engaged in small business financing and in various other phases of economic development.
Jim Whitney was also selected as one of the SBA’s National Champions at the Agency’s National Small Business Week Expo which was held in Orlando, Florida May 19th -21st. This
honor carries much prestige, since there are only 10 Champions nation-wide, and Jim was the only Champion from banking and finance.
“We are extremely proud of Mr. Whitney’s accomplishments,” stated Los Angeles SBA District Director Alberto G. Alvarado. “He has perennially been a stalwart supporter of the Agency’s mission to provide capital access to the underserved small business community. Jim’s dedication to “make a difference” to minority and veteran borrowers is manifested in his personal involvement with more than a dozen organizations which foster the cause of entrepreneurship. He is a true Champion”.
James E. Whitney is available for interviews. Call Frank Brancale at (818) 552-3203.
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 www.sandiegosmallbiz.com. The SBDC is partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration.