Small Business Profiles
Martin Garcia opened Gramercy Gift Gallery in 2018, in the bustling city of San Antonio, T.X., with the vision to fill a gap in his community. As a minority-owned business, Gramercy Gift Gallery brings unique gifts, art, decor and novelties to a community that continues to expand, grow and attract retail chains. And while the growth is rapid in the area, small businesses and independent shops are still scarce.
Tax expert Talibah Bayles started her career in a big way, working for the FBI in Washington, D.C, but in 2006 she decided to move back to her hometown of Birmingham, Ala. and launch her own business so she could focus on taking care of her young family. While Birmingham is a much smaller city, Talibah was determined to make a big impact on her community.
Middle school teacher Talia Waller started making her own organic candles for fun because the price point for similar products are so high in stores. In the early days of the pandemic, her candle-making hobby became a successful side hustle for Talia. These days, Catherine Ann’s Candles—named for Talia’s two grandmothers—is a thriving business with a storefront and bulk contracts with her local supermarket.
After working as a rescue specialist at a fire department in Mexico City for many years, Hector Chavez and his family moved to the United States so he could pursue certifications and advance his career. But 10 years later and out of opportunities to continue his passion, Hector decided to open Plaza Garibaldi, a Mexican restaurant in Soledad, Calif.
Only a couple of months away from receiving an engineering degree, Alexa Alfaro decided to go out on a limb and pitched a business idea to her family. She’d spent the better part of her life learning about her Filipino heritage with her father, and cooking was the main ingredient for her to do just that. That’s when she launched Meat on the Street, Milwaukee’s first Filipino food truck in 2014.
Ten years ago when Sarah Ladley started her Colorado, banana-based ice cream food truck Ba-Nom-a-Nom, she was ahead of the curve. Now, after nearly a year and a half of Covid setbacks, she is fighting to keep up.
Never in a million years did Sarah think she would become a business owner. In fact, she was on a pre-med track in undergrad when she started learning about population health and became interested in the failings of the American food system.
While the worst part of the pandemic may seem to be in the rearview mirror, small business owner Brandon Lindley and his husband Raphael Polito say it depends on the location of your business. As licensees of the world-renowned flip-flop brand Havaianas, Brandon and Raphael own two locations in the United States: One in downtown Palm Springs, Calif. and the other one in Scottsdale, A.Z.
As a third generation business owner, Alan Moy has gained significant wisdom and experience from watching his parents and grandparents choose an entrepreneurial journey as a means to provide a brighter future for their children. Today, he’s the proud owner of Viet Nom Nom, a Vietnamese-inspired restaurant, catering and pop-up business in Evanston, Ill. that serves healthy salads, rice bowls, soups and sandwiches.
Just six months after Suhyoon Wood concocted her very first batch of kombucha, she decided it was time to turn her passion project into her very own small business. When her signature recipe—a blend incorporating organic green tea and honey—gained popularity among her friends and community members, she launched Beejou Craft Kombucha: Columbus, Ga.’s first and only craft and brewery kombucha taproom.
When Shalini Khanna immigrated to Northern California, she found that the majority of jobs available to Indian immigrants were in tech and IT. Uninterested in sitting behind a desk all day, she knew entrepreneurship was for her.
Unfortunately, she didn’t know many entrepreneurs she could turn to for advice and had no hands-on experience running a business despite having an MBA, so she decided to take the route of franchising.
She says, “I didn’t have anything in the bank or any experience, but I knew I wanted to own my own business.”
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