Small Business Profiles
Since opening his market 10 years ago, Alap Vora is proud to say 80% of his employees from his opening day are still working for him, and his business boasts an overall employee retention rate of more than 70%. These numbers are virtually unheard of for hourly-wage jobs in Brooklyn, N.Y., but Alap’s personal approach to business may have something to do with it.
When you think of a harpy, you may picture a mythological half-bird, half-human creature. However, Harpy Information Technology Solutions in St. Louis is named for a very real bird—an eagle—found in South and Central America. Co-owner Laurie Calkins describes the harpy eagle as an incredibly majestic bird and says she was drawn to it because of its unapologetic hunting techniques.
“They go for what they want and they get what they need, no questions asked,” she says.
While many 13-year-olds dream of becoming firefighters or football players, 13-year-old Johnathon Bush not only dreamed of being an entrepreneur but was already becoming one. While growing up in Toledo, Ohio, he realized the only way he could make money at a young age was through entrepreneurship, so he started baking cookies and selling them to friends and family. But, his bake sales evolved into something bigger than his middle school self could have expected.
While many of us are heading to pumpkin patches and apple orchards this month, Deb Ramirez Rock, owner of Sonoma Hot Sauce in Sonoma County, Calif., is encouraging her community to go pepper picking instead at her fourth annual harvest party.
“I’m an advocate for peppers over pumpkins,” Deb proclaims.
Harvest parties are a popular tradition in Sonoma County at this time of year and are one of the many reasons why Deb decided to base her business in Sonoma five years ago.
Kenitra "Keni" Domínguez estaba decidida a ampliar los beneficios para los empleados de Red Bay Coffee cuando se convirtió en Directora de Gente y Cultura de la compañía de café ecológica a principios de 2018.
"Encontrar buenos beneficios para los empleados requiere tiempo, dedicación y recursos, y antes de venir a Red Bay, no había nadie que trabajara en el área operativa de recursos humanos o gestión de personas, por lo que básicamente estaba empezando de cero", comentó.
When her brother was first deployed to Iraq, Candy Alford embroidered every piece of clothing he owned, from his socks to his washcloths, with his name so his things wouldn’t get misplaced in the group laundry. Not only were the name tags practical, but they garnered quite a few compliments from her brother’s fellow pilots, and he suggested she turn her hobby into a business.
Growing up in Mexico, mornings for Nora Angeles were busy and often consisted of a trip to the neighborhood juice stand for a fresh juice or smoothie before school. This was an inexpensive and easy way for Nora’s mom to get her kids the nutrients they needed to start their day off right. After moving to America, this concept became the inspiration for Nora to start her own small business.
When Andrew McDowell set out to open his small business, he wanted to address a prominent issue he was seeing in his community—food deserts.
South Los Angeles is riddled with food deserts, meaning that many neighborhoods do not have access to healthy, affordable food within a reasonable distance from their homes, leading to high rates of diabetes and other health problems.
Cellie Mayol’s journey from CFO to entrepreneur was by no means traditional, but now she says she wouldn’t have it any other way.
For Mark Gisler and his family, a lack of good assisted living facilities in his area spurred two generations of Gislers to make their mark on the care home industry in Northern California—and to create a workplace where employees can feel like family.