Success Stories

Eight years ago, George Constantinou and Farid Ali-Lancheros opened the restaurant that would turn their dreams into reality and make them role models to small business owners and entrepreneurs looking to succeed in a competitive industry.  Through determination and years of in-depth planning and research, Constantinou and Ali-Lancheros created what would become one of Brooklyn’s most popular restaurants: Bogota Latin Bistro.

Bogota Latin Bistro is a Pan-Latin eatery located in Park Slope, Brooklyn that now serves 2,600 customers weekly after opening in the summer of 2005.  During its opening night, the restaurant served over 250 customers and continued its success to generate over one million dollars in sales during the first year of operations, and today employs over 60 employees from the local community.

Part of Constantinou and Ali-Lancheros’s journey included working with business counselors from the local Business Outreach Center.  They were able to create... Read More

From a young age, Nadine Boudreau dreamed of owning her own business where she could help children. Her passion led to a degree in sociology with a focus on women and children’s studies. Boudreau originally thought she’d be a social worker, but found a different opportunity in 2008 with the purchase of a failing preschool in St. James, Long Island.

Boudreau kept the same location and staff, but completely overhauled the curriculum and materials to turn the business around. Her philosophy that children need challenging and creative experiences to develop their innate creativity and fuel their desire to learn new things is reflected in the school’s new motto, “Where your children grow and learn while having fun.” Boudreau’s commitment to becoming involved at each level of the business, including teaching classes, and focus on getting the children’s writing and pre-math skills ready for kindergarten has been highly regarded by the preschool parents.

The Story Book Hollow... Read More

In early 2007, brothers Hoover and Wilson Zuluaga saw an opportunity with a Long Island bakery that was struggling and about to close. Paisapan Bakery had been operating for a full year but had failed to gain popularity among the community. The Zuluaga brothers recognized the main cause was poor customer service and felt they could turn operations around.

Although Hoover was a network security specialist and Wilson was an industrial engineer by trade, the Zuluagas were able to develop their entrepreneurial skills, change employee training, product quality and variety to get results within 18 months. By 2010, the brothers had the bakery’s profits rising when they noticed a growing demand for Hispanic food specialties in their retail bakery.

“We saw an increased in demand for specialties from Columbia, Peru and Ecuador so we started investigating importers and bringing in more and more products for our bakery,” explained Wilson.

Together they capitalized on the... Read More

The midst of the worst recession in decades was Volkan Muti’s opportunity to open his own wine bar in Manhattan’s Murray Hill neighborhood. Wine:30 was originally named for its 30 seats and 30 wines available by the glass and in only three years has grown into a 120-seat wine bar and restaurant popular with tourists and locals who live and work in the neighborhood.

Muti started his epicurean journey 10 years ago and 5,000 miles away in Bodrum, Turkey. He worked his way up from wait staff to restaurant management as he traveled from Turkey to Malta and eventually the United States. While working in Manhattan, Muti came across the ideal location on East 30th Street that was previously occupied by a small cell phone retailer.

“I approached the landlord with my idea and my life savings. Since the economy was shaky and he didn’t have other offers, he agreed to rent me the space. I continued working my job as a restaurant manager and started putting my plan together,”... Read More

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