Success Stories

When Mr. Ed Rice was approached to comment on his business success, he humbly replied, “what success” and mused further, “It’s hard work and ever-present”, intimating that success in entrepreneurship comes from the complete dedication of oneself to the enterprise in question. You better believe that Ed Rice is committed to his Popeye’s stores. No matter what time one visits the operations for a Cajun Cuisine Catch-up, he or she will most likely encounter Ed Rice involved in any one of the myriad management details, or even pitching in to serve the customers or to staff the cash register.

A demanding but fair manager, Ed has made it his policy to staff his enterprise with the best and most well rounded students from the neighboring high schools. His interview process involves a review of the individual job seeker’s report card with special stress placed on attendance record, comments from teachers, and grades. Mr. Rice feels that, if the student is a responsible team... Read More

Ms. Arlene Dotzler founded North Coast Construction in 1997. As a woman-owned sole proprietorship in what is often thought to be a male-dominated industry, Ms. Dotzler soon found the going tough in all aspects of the business. It was particularly difficult to acquire and maintain a significant volume of construction contracts to reach that point of critical mass needed to carry a business through potential economic downturns.

Then Ms. Dotzler heard about the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and its Minority Business Development Program. Also referred to as the 8(a) Program, it is intended to help socially and economically disadvantaged business owners compete in the Federal Procurement Marketplace. The SBA’s 8(a) program assists these firms in gaining equal access to the resources necessary to develop their business and thereby, improve their ability to compete on an equal basis in the mainstream of the economy. Seeking that so called “equal playing field”,... Read More

The remarkable saga of the Lara Family is the quintessential immigrant success story, one that has been played out in every community in every major city throughout America, where the smoggy air is unable to stifle the dreams that the less fortunate use to express their yearning for a better life. In this scenario, however the aspirations occur in Mexico and in East LA. Having just married Mercedes when he turned 18, Humberto Lara and his bride left the impovished town of La Cienega, Zacatecas in Mexico and headed for Los Angeles with the clothes on their backs and $50 that they were able to borrow. A cousin rented the young couple a small space in what, in effect, was a chicken coop and the Laras started the California chapter of their story.

Ten years and six children later the Laras purchased their first home. At this time, Humberto was working as a butcher and looking for ways to earn additional income to support the family. These thoughts became reality as the... Read More

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... Read More