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Success stories

Bloom Retreat, Walnut Creek

For any start-up, a noteworthy milestone is the owner’s first paycheck. For Michelle Long, owner of Bloom Retreat in Walnut Creek, the key to sustainability was evolving her concept and growth strategies with the steadfast support of the Contra Costa Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

World Class Window Coverings, Brentwood

World Class sells and installs residential shutters, blinds, shades, sunscreens and drapery quality products. They are family owned and Diamond Certified company for the last four years.

Railroad Cleaners, Pittsburg

Railroad Cleaners started their business in September 2009 with little knowledge of the dry cleaning and laundry industry. They began serving individuals and commercial clients offering free pick-up and delivery service utilizing two, limited part-time employees.

Several months after the business started, Tom and Svonne came to the Contra Costa SBDC through a referral from the Contra Costa County Workforce Development Board.  They had invested $35,000 from their 401K and signed a lease for a 2,000 sq.ft. facility. Both Tom and Svonne had college educations and felt confident that there was need for their business but wanted specifics of how to grow and to learn business management techniques.

Home Helpers, San Ramon

Home Helpers of San Ramon is a franchise offering non-medical assistance and caring companionship to seniors, new mothers, individuals rehabilitating at home.

Robert Jo came to the Contra Costa SBDC in 2005 for help building his business. Home Helpers was a brand new franchise providing employee training, but Robert felt that it wasn't enough. A previous unsuccessful venture also convinced him the technical assistance would make all the difference with this one.

National Autism Resources, Benicia

National Autism Resources was a start-up, ecommerce business selling a range of unique products and sharing knowledge about services for caretakers of people on the autism spectrum.

Bonnie Arnwine came to the Contra Costa SBDC in 2008 for help determining if her business concept was feasible. With a son on the spectrum and an iParenting Media award winning book, Starting Sensory Integration Therapy, Bonnie felt confident that there was need for her business but wanted to validate her feelings.

Get Goes Mobile Café, Oakland

Jeffrey Williams and his wife Zeva were thinking about starting a business after many years of employment in different fields. Jeffrey was a manager for a major coffee retailer. Zeva, his wife, a licensed R.N. and MFT, provided services at an elementary school. They decided to start a gourmet mobile coffee café.

Happy Go Lucky Pet Care, Walnut Creek

Pet Care Turns a Profit in Walnut Creek

Happy Go Lucky Pet Care is a professional in-home pet care service provider. Their services include dog walking, pet sitting visits, puppy care, and pet transportation. They are located in Walnut Creek.

In 2007, Lisa and her now partner, Paula, left their corporate jobs and formed a partnership agreement, became bonded and insured with the intent of starting a business. Knowing that their clients were concerned with safety, the partners obtained Pet First Aid and CPR Certification through the American Red Cross. Finding clients and selling their services was easy and the partners were well on their way to realizing their dream.

Hi-Tec Recycling, Richmond

Urban Mining & Finding New Use for Old Tech

The company, which was established in 2003, collects e-waste products, including computers and monitors, televisions, radios, cell phones, microwave ovens, fax machines, cables and cords. The collection is free and the service area includes much of Northern California and as far south as Bakersfield.

The company got its start after gaining experience with Phone Fund, a fund-raising organization that collects used cell phones and either refurbishes or recycles the equipment.

The Liddle Cable Company, Concord

The Liddle Cable Company is a woman-owned cable assembly firm specializing in building coax and wire harness needs of the aerospace and technology industry. Customers include Xradin, Nyad, Savi, Jabil and Lockheed. The business was started in 2005.  During the first 4 months of starting their home-based business both husband and wife held full time day jobs, working 16 hour days and weekends.  The promised Monday deliveries and they delivered. 

Kit and Caboodle – The Hobby Shop, Oakley

Kit and Caboodle--the hobby shop, offers many remote control cars, trains, rockets, science and educational projects providing fun for all ages. Beginning in 1972 and located in Albany, Kit & Caboodle has had many owners; the last being Doug’s grandmother Margaret Collins. Instead of closing the shop Doug, a  Part’s Manager at an auto body shop, and Emily, a middle school teacher, could realize their dream of being entrepreneurs. They chose to move the business closer to their home in Oakley and wanted to re-start the business.