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Success Stories

Claire Sumadiwirya, owner of Bellden Cafe 


The concept behind Bellden Café, a mission-driven café in the heart of Bellevue, came from Claire Sumadiwirya’s life. Before opening Bellden Café in 2017, Claire was on a short-term work assignment in Shanghai, China when her newborn son became seriously ill, requiring weeks of hospitalization. Shanghai hospitals don’t have onsite food available and without family and friends nearby to help, Claire would have to leave her son alone in the hospital to get meals or even a simple cup of coffee. One day, Claire was surprised by the hospital staff who brought her a cup of coffee and homemade soup, allowing her to stay with her son. Claire carried the impact of that kind gesture with her back to Bellevue, where she searched for a way to give back to others and create lasting impacts in her community. Claire opened Bellden Café, a community-driven cafe that offers specialty coffee, wholesome house-made food, and... Read More

Marshon Kempf, President & CEO of Mountain Dog Sign Company


Marshon and Steve Kempf had successful careers in nursing and the United States Air Force. After serving as an F-16 pilot for 27 years, Steve retired in 2010, leaving the couple free to do whatever they wanted. They are passionate about helping others and were looking for a challenge where they could use their creativity to make tangible items that would create lasting impacts for others. In late 2011, they chose to chase the American dream of business ownership and started Mountain Dog Sign Company. With no background in business, manufacturing, or sign making, Marshon Kempf, the President and CEO, found she had a lot to learn about business ownership and creating a company that can withstand future hardships.   


Like all successful business owners, Marshon invested as much time and energy as she could growing her business. In 2018 she was accepted into the SBA’s... Read More

Joe Wadsworth, Owner of Custom Source Woodworking


Joe Wadsworth started Custom Source Woodworking in 2007 after having spent more than a decade working for other businesses seeing how woodworking shops treated employees as replaceable while not paying them a livable wage and thought that it could be done differently. He thought that if you treat your employees well and provide a product and service you can be proud of, the employees will be invested in the company’s success as well. He started with one employee in a 2,000 square foot shop specializing in custom built cabinets, desks, and workstations. By 2015 Wadsworth and his partners had grown the company into a 37,000 square foot facility with more than 40 employees that provides high end custom woodwork across the United States. Some of those employees were previously incarcerated, Wadsworth is a second-chance employer who believes in giving everyone a fresh start. In 2016 Wadsworth realized that... Read More


A Filipino Woman-Owned Business Invites Conversation about Heritage Through Food with Help from SBA Financing   Situation

In 2013, Chera Amlag and her husband Geo Quibuyen started a passion project, monthly Filipino pop-up dinners, where they could share their Filipino culture through food. Drawing inspiration from her first memories of cooking a Filipino dessert Halaya with her mother, Amlag combined her love of Ube, a purple yam, and cheesecake to create Ube Cheesecake, which people started requesting long after its debut during their second pop-up. In 2014, Amlag started wholesaling batches of hand-crafted Ube cheesecake to Uwajimaya andHood Famous Bakeshop was born. As the demand for her popular Filipino desserts grew, so did her need for a commercial kitchen. On Amlag’s bootstrapped startup budget, she struggled to find affordable commercial space. As a first-generation business owner, she didn’t know how to access the support and capital her business needed to... Read More