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Success Stories

Duc Tran

SEATTLE - When you start a grocery store business in a 700 square foot location, most people wouldn’t expect it to become a chain store with three locations and a wholesale distribution center working with three countries halfway around the world… But Duc Tran has worked to achieve just that. 

Tran, owner of Viet-Wah, a grocery store chain specializing in Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese foods, said he always saw owning his own business as his only option.

“I grew up in a business family. It’s always been in the family blood to own your own business,” Tran said. “I always hoped my children would take over the business one day; we’ll see what happens.”

Tran now owns three stores in the greater Seattle area and an import/export wholesale distribution location within the SoDo district, which does importing and exporting from three different countries within Southern Asia.

Leeching, daughter of Tran and manager within the company started formally working for her... Read More

NNAC Regina Photo

Since she was a young teen, entrepreneur Regina Lettau has had an inner motivation to work and absorb lessons from others. Now at the age of 29, her years of listening and learning have paid off. 

Regina owns and operates her own general contracting business which employs 17 people and has done more than $20 million in projects during its five years in business. The business is stable and growing with the best year so far topping at $8 million in work.

Growing up in an entrepreneurial environment, Regina learned how to set her own personal standards and become a leader from her father and other family members who owned their own businesses.

To be the boss herself, Regina started her own business, National Native American Construction (NNAC), in 2009 as a young mom who felt it her highest priority to begin something that would support her and her two-year-old daughter. “I knew it would be hard work and it would have its challenges, which it definitely has, but... Read More

If Sandy and Nancy Seright had waited to make a decision in 1979, they might not be the owners of two successful ACE Hardware stores in North Idaho today.  And their son Brett might not be in a position to take over the franchise and continue their success.  Starting a business comes with risk and the Seright family is fully aware and familiar with the odds. 

Both husband Sandy and wife Nancy had many years of working for other people – one in small business and one in the heavy structure of a job with the U.S. Forest Service.  They decided they truly wanted to be in charge and make their own decisions and together realized the best way to do that was to take the leap into entrepreneurship. They seized the opportunity to own a national brand hardware franchise in Post Falls, Idaho. Within a two-week window, they sold their house in Missoula, Montana and borrowed $5,000 from a family member in order to buy the franchise. 

“We had been considering some other franchises... Read More

Father and Son

When Grant Jones spent six months experimenting with different gourmet popcorn flavors in his father-in-law’s garage, he didn’t think the product would be selling in five countries just six years later.

His interest in running a popcorn business started as an idea from Charles Brown, Grant’s father-in-law. “I saw the idea for a flavored popcorn store during a visit to Chicago,” Charles said. “I always liked popcorn as a kid, and the idea just stuck with me.”

He liked that popcorn was low-cost and high-yield to produce, plus it could sustain during difficult economic times. Charles also recognized an entrepreneurial spirit in his son-in-law, who is “clearly smart and thoughtful,” and brought him in on the business idea.

Grant took the lead operating the company with Charles acting as the “bumpers in the bowling alley” to provide guidance as needed. After perfecting some of the more than 21 current flavors KuKuRuZa offers, Grant – with help from his wife Ashley... Read More