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Success Stories

Sunnyside Preschool

A Safe Environment for Kids to Learn and Thrive

Cindy Petosa Brengman is a fairly well-known name throughout Snohomish County. With about 25 years in early learning as the owner and director of Sunnyside Preschool; she has become a local expert on not only early learning, but child and family safety as well; and is also well-known for her amazing volunteer and donation efforts.

“One of our favorite events is Santa’s Cause, where the children donate toys to families in need,” Brengman explained. “Santa shows up with his giant toy bag and the kids get to fill it, over and over again. It’s a big success every year and helps to serve over one hundred families in the community.”

Brengman began her preschool for her own children, but said once they were into public school she realized the need was still there; so she filled it.

“I was able to offer something that I felt wasn’t there at that time,” Brengman said. “A safe and productive... Read More

The story of how one woman hopes to empower an entire city through fitness

Many gyms feel monotone and vast; a large room cluttered with a bunch of equipment. There is the awkward smell of hundreds of other people who have come before you; no sense of real direction; everyone keeping quietly to themselves behind their headphones while treadmills, weights and other machines hum, buzz and clink indistinctively.

Then, there is Fuerte Fitness.

Adriana Medina Cagan, president and owner, started the business located just outside Seattle’s University District in 2007. With a degree in business administration, owning a gym wasn’t something she once saw in her future, but Cagan said fitness is what changed her entire life.

“I used to be heavier, I had lost weight and it really changed and empowered me,” said Cagan. “It helped create other opportunities in career and in life. I started thinking if I can develop that area of my physical life, what I can do with my... Read More

Nicole Pham, Owner of Lemon Grass

Lemon Grass Restaurants Bring Asian Cuisine to the Olympia/Lacey Area

“I never thought I would still be alive when we were on the ocean in that tiny boat. But I made it.”

1975. The Fall of Saigon forced an estimated 2.5 million people into “reeducation camps,” with almost 160,000 people dying in those camps. Of those who managed to escape the country, approximately 350,000 people died in small boats at sea.

But in 1980, Nicole Pham, now the owner of Lemon Grass Restaurants, with three locations in Olympia and Lacey, was one of the comparably few people who managed to successfully escape Vietnam to Hong Kong; forced to leave her entire family behind.

Pham has lived a life full of struggle and complications.

Escaping Vietnam at the age of 16 was her biggest feat. Coming to America and moving through three different sponsor families across the West coast before finally graduating college and beginning a career in accounting... Read More

intelliPaper Founder Andrew DePaula

Edwall, WA; In standard US Small Business Administration training on “how to start a small business” we talk about the key success factors for any startup.   Andrew DePaula, the unassuming founder of intelliPaper® is covering all of the business basics along the way patiently building a solid business foundation. 

intelliPaper is the first company in the world to embed digital flash memory inside ordinary plain paper.  The disposable drive is lightweight, low-cost and 100% recyclable.  They work with printers and marketing specialists to create innovative 'cross-over' marketing and advertising products that combine paper media with digital content and analytics.  DePaula’s ‘invention’ is making its way down the small business runway picking up speed as it goes.  Destined for a solid take off and beautiful flight it is now time for the business to soar into a profitable future. 

DePaula spent his formative years traveling with his missionary parents and benefitted from... Read More