“I don’t know where we would be right now without [the] SBDC…We had zero experience, but now we understand our budget so when COVID hit we…were ready to activate. If you listen, you will be able to thrive with the SBDC’s help. I can’t believe all this was free!”
The careful work the owners of a new, vegan eatery did with their SBDC advisors in developing a business plan and budget put them in a position of flexibility to explore market opportunities when the pandemic hit.
Made primarily of nuts sourced from the region, mother-daughter Owners of Hella Nuts, Mieko and Kamari Scott had been operating since 2018 at festivals and pop-ups, feeding the East Bay their fresh, organic, plant-based vegan food products. Just as they were preparing to get their permit from the City of Oakland to open a physical location for their eatery, COVID hit.
Prior to COVID, the Scotts came to the Alameda SBDC and the SBDC’s Restaurant Program with no experience with financials. They worked hard with their advisors to develop a business plan, learn how to price, and understand their budget. Their advisors introduced them to crucial connections in the restaurant industry who went out of their way to help with every level of their business.
Having explored their vision and different lines of revenue while building their business plan and budget, the Scotts set themselves up to be nimble so that when the pandemic hit they were prepared and able to improvise. They credit the SBDC for encouraging them to build an extra $20-30K into their budget which has helped keep them afloat through the shut-downs. The Scotts switched from their in-person plan to selling online and wholesale where they found national demand with 85% of customers being from out of state.