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Tarla Grill, Napa

On August 29, 2011 Yusuf Topal contacted Charlie Monahan at the Business and Entrepreneurship Center at Napa Valley with a problem. He had sketched out a description of his new restaurant, the Tarla Grill on a single sheet of paper. He was seeking an SBA loan of $150,000 to bridge his $150,000 capital infusion and the landlord’s commitment of $168,000 for tenant improvement. Tarla Grill was already under initial construction inside the Avia Hotel, a trendy boutique hotel in the heart of the City of Napa.

Savvy Nanny Pay, Berkeley

Savvy Nanny Pay offers an easy, affordable online payroll and tax service for those who employ nannies. Because the “nanny tax” is complicated and time-consuming, parents seek help either through accountants or payroll services to ensure accuracy when withholding taxes for nannies and other household employees. The Savvy Nanny pay difference is that we are able to harness an online payroll industry leader to provide service to Savvy Nanny Pay at a wholesale rate, mark it up, then sell those services to our clients for the best price.

Bottle Cap Food & Drink, San Francisco

Bottle Cap celebrated its Grand Opening on July 12th at 1707 Powell Street in the San Francisco North Beach area. The former site of the Washington Square Bar and Grill has become the latest project of Chef Dane Boryta and his wife Elizabeth Ferro.

Bottle Cap is a casual bistro featuring “New American” cuisine with a market-driven menu that will promote customer choice using fresh, organic, seasonal and locally grown and harvested produce, poultry, meats and seafood - offering the best quality product at a reasonable price.  Chef Dane and Liz Ferro have redesigned the interior of the iconic Washington Square eatery to highlight sunny views of the parks although the warm walnut bar remains as an anchor to its history. The concept behind Bottle Cap is to create a lively, memorable restaurant experience that, while sophisticated, is still approachable enough for a weekly visit.

Pacific Preserves, Fort Bragg

Rebecca "Becky" Ahmadi has held a variety of jobs in her life, from restroom attendant and bowling alley manager to a forest service researcher and hydrologist. But she admits the toughest job she’s had is being her own boss and starting a business.

Ahmadi is the owner of Pacific Preserves, a jam and jelly company she started in early 2010 with the help of the Mendocino Women’s Business Center. Ahmadi is also the jam and jelly maker, the head of sales and the chief marketing officer for Pacific Preserves. She does everything, from buying fresh fruit from local farmers to mashing it by hand before using the correct combination of fruit, pectin, acid and sugar to produce a variety of tasty products she sells at local farmer’s markets.

Pot and Pantry, San Francisco

Offering new Bay Area “foodie” options

Pot & Pantry is a recently opened, woman-owned business that specializes in new and niche kitchenware and local artisan foods. Pot & Pantry Owner Donna Suh Wageman has created a unique marketplace where people can buy or sell high-end vintage kitchen equipment, cookware, accessories and tasty treats.

Peas of Mind, San Francisco

Finding the niche in healthy kids food

Helping a friend feed her toddler something healthier than canned green beans turned into a full time job for Jill Litwin, founder and CEO of Peas of Mind, a healthy frozen-food company for growing kids. Jill found her niche in creating foods for the 1 to 8 year-olds, or “growing child.” Moms had little more than Cheerios and Goldfish for their 1 to 8-year-olds to snack on; Jill soon had a line-up of healthy and tasty Puffets, natural and organic wholesome meals.

Susanna Frohman Photography, Bay Area

Susanna Frohman is an international and national award-winning photojournalist and visual storyteller who creates and licenses custom photographic print and web products that help corporations, media organizations and non-profit clients illustrate the heart of their mission.

San Jose Kitchen Rental, San Jose

San Jose Kitchen Rental, LLC (SJKR) is a commercial kitchen facility located in San Jose’s enterprise zone that opened in March 2010.  Owner, Annette Galetti, has over 20 years of professional baking experience and knew first-hand that a large, untapped market existed for a premium commercial kitchen.  It is the first in Silicon Valley to offer three individual kitchens plus almost 1000 square feet of preparation area as well.  The kitchens and prep areas are available 24/7 and provide a unique, low-cost alternative for start-up caterers and bakers as SJKR is the only commercial kitchen in the region that does not require a monthly minimum payment.

River Song Natural Foods, Willow Creek

River Song Natural Foods is a natural foods store in the rural area of Willow Creek, California, and is the only natural food store within 32 miles. The store provides 100% natural foods and beverages, with 90% of those foods and beverages being organic.  Most of their products are from local producers and are of the highest quality. River Song Natural Foods strives to achieve total customer satisfaction by offering specials and welcoming customer feedback.

SF SBDC Client is National Cover Story in BizJournals

Photo: Paolo Vescia

Minding her peas and carrots wins investors
by Susan Smith Hendrickson

Jill Litwin, founder and CEO of a healthy frozen-food company for growing kids, is a typical entrepreneur in many ways. She works (all the time). She gets overtly excited about the launch of her third product, Peas of Pie pizza with vegetables baked into the crust (and stresses about it). And, like most small-business owners, she has to, by default and natural desire, have her hands, or at least her head, in all aspects of her company, from product development to checking whether the delivery trucks are on running on time.

Read more: Business Success Stories - SBA Small Business Administration

Read the original SF SBDC Success Story

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