Top Minority Business - Panda Express
In a highly saturated fast-food industry, the Asian owned Panda fast food enterprise is conquering the taste buds of Americans with gourmet Chinese cuisine. Andrew Cherng started the enterprise with his father in 1973. With a SBA loan they set up their first restaurant, Panda Inn, in Pasadena California. Ten years later, an opportunity to move their high-end restaurant into a fast-food setting became available, and Panda Express was born. Andrew's wife joined the company, after a successful career with Hughe's Aircraft and the two of them took the business to the top. Today, PANDA RESTAURANT GROUP, has four restaurant chains, the original Panda Inn: its clone fast food Panda Express, the newly added Japanese restaurant chain Hibachi-San, and the convenient order-to-pick-up Panda-Panda. The company grosses over $400 million in sales, has over 6,000 employees and has close to 500 locations. Their goal is to own 10,000 locations in their lifetime.
The Story of Calleen Cordero Designs
At age fifteen, Calleen Cordero began working in a high-end boutique in northern California, igniting her passion for footwear. By age sixteen, she was traveling to Europe, working full time as a buyer. She moved to marketing and sales, helping to create markets for well-known American designers. There was no southern California infrastructure for shoe making, but Calleen strove to realize her passion. She began working in her windowless basement and to finance her work, she took a $5,000 loan, took in boarders, sold her cars, and refinanced her house. Her creations are now all handmade in her factory in North Hollywood, California. She purchases her leather in Italy and produces orthopedic and ergonomic shoes with hand sculpted wooden bottoms and modeled leather soles. She opened her first retail store in 2005 to showcase CALLEEN CORDERO DESIGNS, INC. and is now running a worldwide business. She ships her products within the United States and to Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Phillip Ramos Jr: Beating The Odds
Phillip Ramos Jr. (firstname.lastname@example.org) had quite a difficult youth, but his faith and determination allowed him to beat the odds. After years of working in the manufacturing industry, Phillip decided to branch out on his own. His company, PHILATRON INTERNATIONAL, opened its doors in 1974. His company specializes in manufacturing electronic wire, cable and hoses. Times were tough: he had no capital and no client base. He was selling bundles of wire out of his garage. Getting business was hard, but the company eventually found its niche -- to focus on custom-made products. But the company struggled again due to economic troubles. But developing new products and patenting them turned the business around. This year, Philatron celebrates their 30th year in business. Phillip's company has come a long way, including moving from a meager factory to a space that covers 100,000 square feet.
Success Story of Roland Wiley - Raw International, Inc
Roland Wiley (www.rawinternational.com) was a top architectural designer at an established firm in Los Angeles. However, he realized there would not be anymore growth opportunities for him in the company. This convinced him to leave the prestigious position to become an entrepreneur. He formed a partnership with Steven Lott and created an architectural company called RAW INTERNATIONAL, INC. in 1984.
Minimailers: Story of a Direct Mail Company
Bill Rivera (www.minimailers.com) and his company MMI first appeared on Making It! in 1989. Since then, the direct mail company has expanded its staff to 150 employees. Bills success can be attributed to his ability to provide added value to the clients he serves. He does this by using technology to create growth opportunities for his business. He believes he will be able to increase the response rate from 3% to an impressive 300% with the help of digital capability and one-to-one marketing. In addition, MMI participates in a significant portion of the pre-mailing process and is now considered to be a semi-partner of the United States Postal Service. Currently, Bill is working to expand his company by opening a third facility that specializes in digital color printing.
Growing Your Non-Profit - Sarita Vasa
Sarita Vasa (www.artwallah.org) was an undergraduate student at UCLA when she obtained an internship position at the Craft and Folk Art Museum. While working there, she became inspired to create an expressive medium for South Asians. Upon her graduation, Sarita founded a nonprofit center called ARTWALLAH. The name was derived from the words "art" and "wallah," which means someone who creates. Through her organization she was able showcase South Asian art and culture with events like the ArtWallah Festival. Sarita's work was well received and her business grew exponentially, eventually reaching $200,000 in 2005. In the future, she wants to continue developing ArtWallah. Sarita has taken a step in realizing her vision by hiring Linsey Schade and Ashwini Srikantiah, who serve as the executive and artistic directors, respectively. She and her team are working to increase ArtWallah's budget to over $500,000 in the next five years.