Small Business Profiles
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.”
California small business owner Dr. Wendy Talley and her team are redefining “essential worker” with their much-needed support services throughout the pandemic.
With unprecedented times come great amounts of uncertainty and mental stress. Not only are we reckoning with a devastating public health crisis, but we are also still adapting to a new normal that can be isolating and overwhelming. It’s no wonder Dr. Talleys waiting list at Thelese Consulting Group is longer than ever before.
The past year has stretched many households to their broadband limit with kids learning virtually and parents working remotely at the same time, but for rural small business owner Shayai Lucero, this isn’t a new challenge.
Why shop small? Because $0.67 of every dollar you spend at a small business gets invested back into the community. For Jeff Rogoff, owner of Sazza in Greenwood Village, Colo., this philosophy holds true. At Sazza, not only are the pizza toppings and cheeses locally sourced but so is the silverware, tables, glassware and branded merchandise.
“Being mindful of our community, working with our community and being a part of our community is all very important to us,” Jeff says.
Most first-time business owners struggle to be profitable during the early stages of their business venture. But when you add a global pandemic into the mix, the chances of being profitable essentially go out of the window. This was the case for Nichole Jackson, a former educator who decided to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and become a restaurant business owner in 2019.
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