A protein drink that tastes like a coffee house gourmet coffee drink? It sounds like an active person’s dream come true! But the Greg and Beth Smith’s personal dream of expanding the product line with new flavors was halted when our economic environment took a turn for the worse; banks were leery of lending, let alone to a start-up business. When they turned to Fresno CDFI the couple was able to secure $30,000 for the expansion and promotion of a new product line.
This story begins in a Hmong refugee camp in Thailand – a small parcel of land littered with makeshift homes and buildings. These impromptu villages are built to serve one purpose: provide the most basic human needs for the shortest amount of time. However, some refugees have been at these camps since 1975 and have given up hope of finding a better life.
Al and Christy Kroell are the recipients of the national Sargent Shriver Achievement “Veterans Serving America” Award. They will receive the award in person at the annual National Community Action Partnership conference in Chicago. The video, featuring the Kroell’s and Fresno EOC/CDFI can be viewed here.
After experiencing years of disappointment trying to find quality tamales at local restaurants, Liz Sanchez realized that if her family wanted tamales done right, they would have to make them as they had done for so many years at home, but on a restaurant level.
Body del Sol Medical Spa is an unlikely success story of a company started at the depths of the recession in 2009. What was the secret to its success and growth over the past 4 years? ‘Determination’ says owner Ayde Mendibles, ‘it was tough and there were plenty of setbacks along the way, but I found that persistence and hard work really does pay off.’ Prior to starting the business, Mendibles explored day and medical spas throughout the western United States. She selected the best practices from her exploration and brought it to Fresno.
Owners Doug John and Francie Denis opened their first Legend Music store in Manteca, CA in 2011. They expanded to a second Central Fresno location in July, 2012 by acquiring Sound Stage which had deep roots in the Fresno music community. The store serves musicians of all walks of life particularly music programs at surrounding schools. When they acquired that location, they were not ready for the utility bills that started to come in.
Valley Prep Academy Charter School (VPA) provides education with a mission to be a safe and healthy environment providing opportunity for all students to become lifelong learners through excellence in character development, academic skills, and physical fitness in a low-income community in Central Fresno. 2014 marks the 10 year anniversary of the school’s commitment to the surrounding neighborhoods, where one in four families live below the poverty line. The school is a source for education as well as nutrition where 80% of VPA’s students qualify for free or reduced lunch.