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Success Stories

Success Stories

Women-Owned Small Business Sells Comfort to Motorcyclist

Find out how Kris Hart, founder and owner of Royal Riding, transformed herself from an employee into a successful business owner with the assistance of SBA Resource Partners in Southern California.

An amusing aspect of Kris Hart, founder and president of Royal Riding & Accessories, is she manufactures flawless and comfy motorcycle seat pads but hasn’t had much time to sit on one since founding her company in 2010.

Four years ago in early 2009 began a turning point for Hart who was then working two jobs, one for a motorcycle parts dealer and another as an administrator running group homes for young women in the foster care system.   “I was working for someone else while I was running homes for youth…I was afraid to go out and do it on my own but I looked at these brave young women and decided to go for it and take out a $17,000 bank loan through Santa Barbara Bank and Trust.  I bought a truck, trailer and dove into business,” said Hart.

In 2009, for nine... Read More

Willa Kveta Captures Life’s Biggest Moments as a Photographer and Small Business Owner

One can almost taste the sea salt in the air, feel the dew covered grasses and smell the wedding bouquet’s fragrance when gazing at Willa Kveta’s photographs. She is the creative mind and owner of Willa Kveta Photography, a Santa Barbara-based photography business. 

“I never imaged being a wedding photographer,” said Kveta.  Reminiscing on her current path as a photographer and business owner, and how it took shape by virtue of her desire to leave Whidbey Island near Seattle and see the world.

She recalls in the same breath, “I saw true happiness where I didn’t expect to find it…and I learned to believe in miracles,” said Kveta, who traveled solo for two plus years around Central and South America.  She quickly acquired the gimlet eye of a seasoned traveler through her many indelible experiences.  A couple of which were hitch hiking extreme distances and being caught up in a police raid – these life experiences were just two among the many she recounted along her... Read More

Gradillas Court Reporter Chronicles Own 8(a) Success Story

“It’s important work,” said Josephine Gradillas, principal and founder of Gradillas Court Reporters, a licensed California court reporting and litigation support business.  “Especially when witnesses are under oath…the transcripts are extremely important and are used to come to legal decisions and conclusions.”

Gradillas Court Reporters was founded in 2001 but more recently in 2010 the growing firm entered into the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program, which helps socially and economically disadvantaged individuals gain a foothold in government contracting. The program is divided into two phases over nine years: a four-year development stage and a five-year transition stage.

Although Gradillas was steadily growing and maintained non-governmental work prior to becoming an 8(a) certified company, Gradillas would receive only occasional request from government agencies requiring court reporting assignments.  That would all change after... Read More

North Hollywood Hosts One of Three State-of-the-Art Gas Station in California

A newly built Chevron gas station in North Hollywood, California is one of three state-of-the-art gas stations having a new vaulted concrete system that ensures zero ground contamination from the gas station’s fueling system.

The gas station is owned by Bijan “Ben” Pouldar who emigrated with his family from Iran to the United States many years ago.  In 1979, after earning his B.S and M.A. in Civil Engineering from the University of Missouri, he and has family bought a gas station in the San Fernando Valley – this would be the first of 13 gas stations he and his family would buy over the next 34 years, some of them using the SBA’s 504 Loan Program.

The Chevron gas station provides 15 jobs and hosts a bustling sit-down Mexican food restaurant, a lavish convenience store and a car wash that can handle 60 cars per hour.  The project came together with the backing of Regina Grant Peterson, executive director of Advantage CDC, a non-profit SBA certified development company... Read More