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Los Angeles District Office

Success Stories

Success Stories

Fort: Workshop & Furniture Reseller and Gallery - Los Angeles Success Story

Fort, a workshop/furniture reseller and gallery, is a journey as much as a destination when looking to acquire or trade furniture.  Jacqueline Sharp, owner and founder of Fort has crafted an eco-friendly business model that gives a new life and new home to striking and hand-crafted furniture pieces. 

Sharp, who studied art/design at the University of Iowa, started Fort in February 2011 with the idea to lighten landfills while preserving some great pieces.  “Many of our pieces are made from scrap and reclaimed materials in addition to well-curated vintage pieces,” said Sharp. 

Sharp had the core of her business plan in place in 2010, unfortunately her business partner backed out causing her serious concerns.  She researched and walked into the local Women’s Business Center.  “Honestly, I would not have found the courage or strength to start Fort without the help of the WBC,” said Sharp.  “I didn’t know where to start on a business plan or anything about projections.”... Read More

Glenoaks Imaging Professionals - Glendale's "New and Improved" Medical Imaging Facility

Who says that getting a MRI scan can’t be relaxing, almost spa like?  When walking into Glenoaks Imaging Professionals medical facility in Glendale, California one gets the feeling he or she will be treated well.  The smell of fragrant flowers and a hint of freshly brewed coffee fills the air. Patients are offered tea or coffee and sit in stylish chairs within the naturally-lit waiting room with floor-to-ceiling windows. 

All three co-owners, a husband and wife team and their long-time friend, met in college and had the dream of starting a business in the community they grew up in.  After college Ashley and Andre Shakhbandaryan and Rubik Khosrovyan worked for established companies and gained industry expertise.  But in 2010, they struck out on their own and assembled a team of trusted family and friends to staff their office. “Andre and I dreamed of having our own place ever since we met,” said Ashley. “Our biggest priority is to help our community with quality healthcare... Read More

Wedgewood Wedding and Banquet Center - 2012 Family-Owned Business of the Year & Success Story

Wedgewood Wedding and Banquet Center chain, founded, owned and operated by the Zaruka Family began in 1986.  Located in Camarillo,,California, Wedgewood was founded when John and Linda Zaruka took out two SBA-backed loans from National Bank of California to buy a failing golf course restaurant, which they converted to banquet service exclusively.  From this humble beginning, the Zaruka’s now offer 17 wedding locations throughout California. 

Starting with one employee, the family-owned business now employs 100 full-time and 300 part-time employees - in the last three years alone, two hundred employees have been added (a 100 percent increase).  Revenues from 2011 will exceed $20 million and just as important they have maintained an “A” guest rating. 

Both the Zaruka children, Bill and Stacy, worked alongside their parents at an early age and then went on to get degrees at excellent hospitality colleges, eventually returning to the family business as partial owners. ... Read More

Diversified Risk Management, Inc. - 2012 Women in Business Champion & Success Story

In a male-dominated field of mostly retired law enforcement professionals, Patricia A. Kotze-Ramos, owner and founder of Diversified Risk Management, Inc., is a champion for bringing more women into the private investigation field. 

Since 2002, when she co-founded the firm using a SBA loan.  Kotze-Ramos has handled thousands of matters involving employment, civil and criminal matters.  In 2005, DRM Inc. grew from 500 sq. ft. to 2,500 sq. ft. and she now employs approximately fifty employees and contractors. 

Her company serves small business as well as Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, attorneys, non-profits and individuals who require the best in investigations, training, background checks and security services.  Having been in the consulting business for over 27 years, Kotze-Ramos has served as a role model for other women and actively mentors other women-business owners through several boards, committees and organizations. 

In addition to running a... Read More