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Success Stories

Mexican tradition arrives to Oregon’s Farmers Markets

Inspired by the Mexican entrepreneurs that brought their family recipes to California in the 1960’s, Araceli de la Cruz mixes a batch of ground sweetcorn by hand as she prepares tamales for a banquet celebration she’s catering the next day in Beaverton, Oregon.

Araceli shares her excitement as her business grows into its third year from selling tamales one day a week at the Hillsboro Farmers market, to expanding to markets several days a week in Beaverton, Forest Grove, and Aloha and managing several catering orders. “On my first day in business I only made $60, but I stuck with it for the love of my recipes and determination to sustain my family. Now I make a living seeing the joy in my customers’ faces as they lick their fingers and savor the traditional pork, chicken, vegetarian, green-chile and sweetcorn tamales that my mother taught me to make when I was a girl living in Jalisco, Mexico. Being at the markets sharing Mexico’s traditional flavors with people from Oregon... Read More

Geoff Metts, Jeremie Murfin, Johnpaul Simonet, Owners of Five Star Guitars

2016 Oregon Small Business Persons of the Year:

Five Star Guitars

HILLSBORO, Ore.– Step aside food scene. . .  before you made your global footprint, Oregon’s music landscape ruled. And, the owners of Five Star Guitars, the 2016 Small Business Persons of the Year, are doing their part to keep both local and national musicians ready to jam.

Meet Geoff Metts, Jeremie Murfin, and Johnpaul Simonet.

“Our goal has been to create the best place for our customers to shop and for our employees to work,” shared Geoff Metts, who leads Five Star’s business development efforts. Jeremie functions as the team’s CFO, handling bookkeeping and payroll functions, and Johnpaul keeps Five Star operationally aligned with IT and point of sale configurations.

In 2011, Geoff, Jeremie, and Johnpaul were presented with the opportunity to buy the shop that had been in existence since 1998. They knew from experience that they could run the store operationally—but was it a... Read More

Photos or Annabel Ortega de Radillo and her husband Jose, owners of Empower Painting.

When Annabel Ortega de Radillo and her husband Jose decided to start a business, they sought the help of business advisors at the Clackamas College Small Business Development Center SBDC.

Jose’s years of experience in the painting industry gave him knowledge of the operations side of the business, while Annabel brought her military experience managing administrative processes, scheduling, and finances. Even still, they had many questions about how to get started off on the right foot.

Myrna Rattle, the Veteran’s Representative, at the Clackamas SBDC met with Annabel and worked with her through her enrollment in the SBDC’s 16-week Small Business Greenhouse course. This particular course was appealing to Annabel for its affordability, evening schedule, and the comprehensiveness of the training. Well before completing the course, Annabel and Jose were able to launch their business, Empower Painting. Now some years later, Annabel jokes appreciatively that she ‘believes... Read More

Chris and Cindy Reed, Owners of The Grocery Social & Cocktail

You may have heard about their grand opening, or perhaps that they are pouring a delicious cocktail, but have you heard how Chris and Cindy Reed, owners of The Grocery Cocktail & Social, launched the dream of owning their own place?

Like their specialty drink recipes, Chris and Cindy stirred together the right combination of ingredients to present themselves as eligible borrowers. Chris brought to the table over a decade’s worth of restaurant and hospitality industry experience, including having worked his way from sous-chef to general manager of the well-known Screen Door restaurant in Portland. Experience was a great first building block. Chris’ career history gave him the right ideas about operations and management, while Cindy brought to the table her experience as a customer service manager in the banking industry, and as a current Starbucks store manager—but as their pursuit solidified, the Reeds decided they needed to put together a comprehensive business plan.... Read More