This story was originally published in northcoastsbdc.org.
Renata Maculans started her dream business in a truck. Her idea was to offer people in her town inexpensive, nutritious food that was also interesting and tasty. She went to the North Coast SBDC in 2000 for initial assistance in concept development and bookkeeping setup.
By the next year, Renata’s Creperie was ensconced in a fully permitted truck. She had a choice spot on the Arcata Plaza during events. The Creperie also went on the road providing tasty delights all over Northern California. But her true dream was to own her own restaurant.
As much help as needed
In 2003, Renata went back for business plan assistance. She worked with the County’s Individual Development Account program in cooperation with the SBDC, building toward her dream.
After a couple of years, Renata got serious about planning for a sit-down restaurant. She enlisted her SBDC counselor for business plan assistance which would, hopefully, lead to a loan. Her business plan took shape over a few months. When the right location opened up, she was just about ready. Using financial projections developed with her counselor, Renata was able to procure private financing for her business.
North Coast SBDC’s Biznet program provided additional counseling help regarding Health Department and Planning Department permitting advice. Further bookkeeping counseling produced the necessary adjustments to help her deal with the suddenly increase in staff. Renata went from one employee to ten in almost a heartbeat. Renata’s Creperie opened in December 2005.
The fruits of her labor
A few weeks after the grand opening, Renata invited her SBDC counselor to drop by to try a crepe. But that day, he didn’t get the chance. A line snaked out the door and the list was forty-five minutes long. This is in a town where only two restaurants take reservations at all and usually only for dinner.
Since then, Renata has stayed in touch with the SBDC. She calls in with a hello or a quick question at times. But her reliance on the SBDC has tapered off.
With her innate artistic ability, Renata turned her restaurant into an interesting and exciting environment. Food aficionados from all over the area flock to the Creperie and sales have far exceeded her dream projections.
Eventually, her counselor did manage to get a table. That day, the local newspaper was there doing a two-page story on her restaurant. The reporter could almost make his way through the crowd.