Success Stories

Image of worker at tortilla making machine

Situation

Miguel Diaz Sr. sold his three tortilla factories when he emigrated from Mexico to the United States with his family. In 1994, after 15 years of working in other industries, Diaz returned to tradition and started La Morenita Tortilleria, the same name as the ones he owned in Mexico.  Orders for La Morenita tortillas exploded in recent years and this family-owned business needed additional space to meet the growing demand for their products.

Solution

A local lender introduced the Diaz family to the SBA 7(a) Loan Program which helped  them secure financing for a new  warehouse and production facility as well as obtain refinancing of their current debt.  The 7(a) Loan Program is the most common SBA loan program providing financial help for businesses  needing a loan up to $5 million to fund startup costs, buy equipment and more.

Impact

La Morenita Tortilleria is on a steady growth trajectory with the purchase of a new warehouse/production... Read More

Photo of Mia and Rob Scofield

Situation

While attending an education conference, Mia Scofield – who was a high school teacher and counselor at the time – discovered a retail store that inspired her to design her own line of handbags. Mo & Co. Bags was a natural off-shoot of her husband’s established shoe company; however, Scofield found doing what you love doesn’t always translate into business success.

Solution

Scofield applied to the SBA Emerging Leaders Initiative, a six-month “mini-MBA” executive education course for businesses poised for growth. The initiative provided her with the organizational framework, resource network and motivation required to help her build a sustainable business. While Scofield loved the creative process of making handbags, the course helped her realize she needed to make decisions from a business point of view. This included a thorough understanding of her business’ balance sheet and financial statements.

Impact

Since completing the program... Read More

Photo of Brandon (son) and Steve (father) Vaughn cleaning windows

Situation

In 2011, Brandon Vaughn bought All-Clean Window Service from his father, Jim Vaughn, upon diagnosis of a serious health condition for Jim. Brandon knew he needed to grow the business so his father could retire after running the business for more than 30 years. Despite the company’s long track record, it had to act like a startup in many ways by updating the branding, offering additional services and developing new internal systems.

Solution

Brandon knew he needed help from people more experienced than him; and, who could coach him through all the transitions of growing a business. So he reached out to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon for assistance. Brandon met regularly with Mt. Hood SBDC Director Kedma Ough who was able to coach him to stay focused on the things that truly mattered and served as a sounding board for ideas that would take his business to the next level.

Impact

... Read More
Sarah Curtis-Fawley and Chris Powell

The Australian meat pie is one of the most iconic comfort foods from the land Down Under and is often described as the continent’s unofficial national dish. So when husband and wife team Sarah Curtis-Fawley and Chris Powell moved to Portland from Chris’s native Australia, Sarah began making them for him as a reminder of home. This became the inspiration for a savory journey into a new business.

“I never considered owning my own business before when we returned to my native town of Philadelphia,” said Sarah.  “In 2008, I went to the Women’s Business Development Center in Philadelphia where I saw that this could be a possibility.”

That possibility became a reality for Sarah and Chris in 2009 when they launched Pacific Pie Company and began selling their pies at local farmer’s markets in Portland.  From these humble beginnings, Pacific Pie Company opened a small café in southeast Portland in 2010 where the word quickly spread about their delicious handmade pies.

... Read More

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