Meet Our Clients


At the end of March 2020, Jacques Oskanian found himself with around $30,000 worth of wedding invitations that no one had come to claim sitting in his showroom. His award-winning business, Hyegraph, specializes in invitations and calligraphy for weddings as well as corporate and private events. They carry a wide selection of designer brands such…

Dynamic Education Services

Tired of the inefficiencies and grind of both the private and nonprofit sectors, Jonas Maceda felt ready to strike out on his own. “I wanted to gain financial freedom, set my own hours and my own expectations, and reward myself for all the hard work I’ve done in the last 21 years,” he reflects. From…

The Gumshoe Group

After over thirty years of working in law enforcement, Ken Kramer retired, but he wasn’t quite ready to stop working yet. Having served as Chief Investigator for the Solano County District Attorney’s Office, he wanted to continue working with the law enforcement community. He founded The Gumshoe Group in February 2019 to provide pre-employment background…

Waldo’s Ristorante

Growing up in Argentina, Waldo Cesoni watched his father run a hotel and restaurant business. His Italian immigrant parents instilled a strong sense of hospitality in their son from a young age. “To me, the restaurant is your home. You just welcome your friends and never treat it as a business,” Waldo reflects. He enjoyed…

Lacy’s Barber Shop

Lloyd Lacy Jr. has been cutting hair for about fifty years. His godfather bought the barber shop Lloyd now owns back in 1952. Growing up in the city, Lloyd would often stop by the shop in the Ocean View neighborhood to spend time with his godfather and friends. After graduating from barber college, Lloyd found…

Sour Cherry Comics

When you walk into Sour Cherry Comics, you’ll likely get a warm welcome from the store’s furry greeter, Benny. The colorful displays of comic books, graphic novels, and toys draw your eye in every direction. Proudly lesbian-owned, the space feels inviting and inclusive. “I didn’t want it to feel like, ‘oh, here’s your little queer…

Hacking Solutions

Tony Beaman was at a crossroads. He had just been laid off from his corporate job after a company acquisition, and despite his 20 years of experience in tech recruitment, staffing, and leadership, he felt like he was working toward a dead end. “I realized I was not going to achieve my career goals climbing…

Tana Harris, owner of Harris Hoisting

Harris Hoisting

After Tana Harris completed her service with the National Guard, she wasn’t sure what was next for her in life. When a friend suggested that she look into construction work, she decided to give it a try and fell in love with the industry. In 1988, Tana joined the Local 3 union as an operating…

Gracefully Global Group

“Without that loan, I wouldn’t have been able to reach nearly as many university student veterans centers,”


Kenny’s Heart & Soul

In April 2014, Kenny Stuckey, an Army veteran, decided that he wanted to launch a food truck in order to be independent and to create something of his own.


Smokey Jake’s BBQ

“We serve high-quality, made-from-scratch smoked meats directly to customers. Our food truck has two commercial smokers that you would typically find in a restaurant. The smoking process takes fourteen hours and occurs overnight so that it is ready by the next morning.”

Mr. East Kitchen

Victor and Ken started Mr. East Kitchen in August 2018 after beginning the planning process in December 2017. They used the loan they received from Main Street Launch as working capital.

Cafe El Patio

Café El Patio is a casual community-based café founded by Allan Coello, located in East Oakland. Café El Patio serves single origin coffee that comes directly from a family member’s farm in Honduras.

The Cook and Her Farmer

After spending a year popping up around town and leasing kitchen space, Romney and Steven opened The Cook and Her Farmer in 2014. Through their partnership, they have grown The Cook and Her Farmer into the successful restaurant it is today and contributed to the thriving of Swan’s Market as part of the Old Oakland Renaissance.

Sequoia CrossFit

“I love living in East Oakland,” he said. “I knew that I wanted to help people achieve their fitness goals, and I saw an opportunity to improve on existing services,” explained Matt.

Subpar Miniature Golf

At Subpar, mini golf is the focus of the business. “We aim to make a good game of golf by making sure that it is fun to play and that there is skill involved. It’s a player’s game,” Michael said.

Retreat Skin and Hair Studio

Retreat Skin and Hair Studio provides a safe space for all clients to rejuvenate as they receive high quality skin, beauty, and hair care in a beautiful, relaxed environment.

Bar Shiru

Bar Shiru is a high-fi vinyl listening music bar in Oakland, and the first of its kind in the Bay Area. It was founded by business partners Shirin Raza and Daniel Gahr, who also happen to be wife and husband.

Hive the Place to Bee

Before they launched Hive the Place to Bee, Bree and Calanit noticed that they had to leave their neighborhood to find high quality food and drinks. As local residents, they started the café because they wanted to provide high quality food and drinks to their community.

Native Organic Cotton

Co-founder and co-owner Marc W. Chase says, “My ancestors are French and they were in the textiles industry in the Old World. I started this business because it’s in my blood.”


“Attention to ingredients is the core of Birdsong,” says Aarti. The restaurant features locally- and sustainably-sourced ingredients from small ranches, fisheries, and independent foragers.


Aburaya is special since it offers the community casual dining options and quick service, without the social and ethical consequences of corporate fast food.

Silber, Vasquez & Associates

Silber, Vasquez & Associates is a Life Coaching firm based in San Francisco but works with clients all around the world, such as in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and China among others. Their mission is to help their clients set goals in order to attain a better future.

Continental Window Fashions

Continental Window Fashions is an online retailer for drapery hardware and window furnishings, based in San Francisco. They carry a multitude of window furnishing items such as curtain rods, finials, brackets, tiebacks and other hard to find accessories. They also offer services such as custom rod curving and a team of expert interior designers to…

Blue Heron Catering

Blue Heron Catering, Inc. has been serving the Oakland community for 30 years since their establishment in 1988. They cater for a variety of events in the community, including programs for non-profits, weddings, corporate events, socials, and basically anything you can think of that involves food. You can catch them serving at local venues such…

BIBO Salon

BIBO is a hair and beauty salon located on 2509 Broadway in the Uptown District. The owners, Susie Geda and Kech Carera, both have strong ties to Oakland and the East Bay community. Susie has over 27 years of experience in hairstyling, working previously at a shop in Rockridge. Kech is an East Bay native,…

Wine & Design

“For anyone who wants to open a business,” Tina explains, “You have to be patient, be out there, and do a lot of outreach. Wherever I go, I always talk about my business or wear its merch to promote the store.”


Cassava is a neighborhood restaurant that serves modern California cuisine and serves San Francisco’s Outer Richmond district as a community gathering place. Yuka Ioroi is the Owner/General Manager and her husband Kristoffer Toliao is the Owner/Executive Chef: “Opening a restaurant was the natural evolution of both of our careers,” explains Yuka. Kristoffer’s expertise as a…

The Storybook School

Children are not just learning a language; they are learning about a culture that comes with the language.”

Secession Art & Design

“Look for mentors that can help you plan out five to ten years. Celebrate the wins, learn from your mistakes, and show up each day and make something happen.”

Sugar Sweet Cookie + Cake Studio

Growing up, David Benton, the owner of Sugarsweet Cookie and Cake Studio, was not exposed to baking. He went on to California Culinary School to become a chef. During his studies there, he took an introductory baking class and immediately fell in love with it. After the 2008 recession, he lost his job and started…

Wholesome Bakery

Open since 2009, owner Mandy Harper used her Main Street Launch loan to open her retail bakery space at 299 Divisadero Street in San Francisco. “Starting my business was a bit of an accident,” remembers Mandy. “It’s my personality to want to work for myself and do it all, and I had food allergies that…

Black Jet Baking Co.

Owned by Gillian Shaw Lundgren, Black Jet Baking Co. is a family-owned, neighborhood wholesale and retail bakery in Bernal Heights. They specialize in classic American-style desserts and are now offering breads and breakfast items. They’re always expanding their selection, so keep an eye on their menu and visit often to catch what’s new!   “Since…


Vita is a boutique fitness studio specializing in yoga, pilates, and barre. They offer classes that range from gentle to power to intense cardio. Vita is a great place to pursue your fitness goals and build community.   Katy Winter opened Vita in 2017 after changing careers. “I was working in finance, but I knew…

Illumino Lashes

Since its start, Illumino has been a self-supported spa service business, and Soo-Jin had never received outside investment until her loan with Main Street Launch. Sensing it was time to shift Illumino away from direct services and increase its product reach, Soo-Jin sought the loan to fund her business’ transition.


Growing up, Chris Pastena spent a lot of time around the dining table at his grandmother’s house, sharing food with his loved ones. Whenever he thinks of family, he thinks of food and dining, and as a result, he created his three restaurants, Lungomare, Calavera and Chop Bar, to offer people places to come together…

Nyum Bai

Coming to the United States as a refugee from Cambodia, Nite Yun opened Nyum Bai to commemorate her parents as well as celebrate Cambodian food and culture, especially its Golden Era. “Nyum Bai is a place for everyone to hang and jam out to 60s Cambodian rock music,” says Nite.   “The food that the…

Jenny Lemons

“When I was working for someone else, I found myself drawn to pursuing my own art. When I decided to open the store, my business expanded beyond my dream and became a place to support other local artists, as well as myself.”

Inside-Out Bar

Seth created a new food product that was healthy and could serve as a meal supplement to give his peers and himself a better option than the meals available. Now Inside-Out Bar is a mission-driven nutrition bar company with a social impact that helps their customers fuel their bodies with a powerful food that supports good health from the inside out.


“Since I was a kid, I’ve always charted my own path, so I decided to create my own opportunities,” says Cheri. “There have been serious challenges, but I know I have to follow my passion and find people to help me achieve my goals.”

Freedom Makers

“My brother is in the Air Force, and my sister-in-law and I were having a familiar conversation about what she was going to do for work. I developed Freedom Makers to try and develop more opportunities within my community,” explains Laura.

Crooked City Cider

“My great uncles inspired me to own a business,” remembers Dana. Liquor was illegal in the early 1930, and the Bushouse brothers, John and Peter created a moonshine production that was successful back at the time. Eventually they were forced to end their business, but generations later, Dana decided to follow her great uncles’ footstep, using the family knowledge to create her unique cider recipes for everybody to enjoy.

The Hair Gym Academy & Salon

“The process takes time, but it is a good learning experience. It was pleasant to work with Main Street Launch, and they provided us with lots of support and help,” remembers Daniel.

Bardo (formerly Michel Bistro)

“Become an expert in knocking on the doors of those who are experts in everything business related. They will help you fill in the gaps of starting or growing your business so you can go forward with allies and develop relationships with people committed to your success.”

Serenity Skin Care

“I encourage all startup businesses in need to apply for loans. I was hesitant at the beginning because of the time-consuming application process and paper-work. After going through the process, the loan helped me feel ready, and it allowed me to make improvement to my business,” explains Kamilah.

Degrees Plato

“My brother is in the Air Force, and my sister-in-law and I were having a familiar conversation about what she was going to do for work. As a brat and in the military I have many friends who have faced the same challenge when their spouse is transferred, so I developed Freedom Makers to try and develop more opportunities within my community,” explains Laura.

Remedy Barre + Foam Rolling

Remedy Barre and Foam Rolling is Oakland’s newest barre studio, freshening up barre in Oakland. Their barre classes give you the strength you’re looking for while providing the release you need through foam rolling.

Roses’ Taproom

Roses’ Taproom partners with other local businesses. “We are not just distributing our beer to other restaurants, we also serve food from the business in our neighborhood!”


Water Saver Solutions

Chuck was inspired to enter the healthcare industry after discovering the EPA labeled it the third-highest water-wasting industry. Although there are many barriers to entry in the healthcare field due to strict regulations, Chuck says, “I embraced the barriers.”

Maple Street Denim

Julie was able to use the loan to refinance credit card debt, purchase inventory, and buy photo equipment to help with their marketing, which increased her cash flow.

Four Star Seafood

Their company was growing quickly, and they wanted a plan in place in case their profits needed some time to catch up with the growing demand.


Michael explains: “I have a need to make things. It is a grounding process for me.”


Reem’s isn’t just a business. At the heart of the work is a desire to pursue social justice. All of Reem’s leadership team come from a social justice background, and their shared focus around fighting xenophobia comes through the daily work at Reem’s.


The Philoglots

“My experience with Veteran Launch was awesome. I had nothing but help, support, and understanding for my business, and it was a smooth ride. I found Mr. Mike McGrane through the SBDC. He helped me start my business. I was impressed by the services,” reflects Josee.

Kettle and Fire

Justin was referred to Main Street Launch by purewod, another Main Street client. “The experience was great. I knew what to expect because I knew another borrower.”


A serial entrepreneur, Chris offers advice to aspiring small business owners: “You can’t be afraid of failing. Stick to what you set out to do, and commit for the long-term. The first year is a struggle, but persist and stick to your vision. It will pay off.”


Gianluca also operates 54 Mint in San Francisco, and he has learned a lot about owning restaurants over the years: “Montesacro is the result of amazing teamwork of our 15 employees, and giving your family of employees room to prove themselves has good results. A successful restaurant is not based on the number of customers served in one day but in the number of customers dying to come back,” he explains.

Lena’s Soul Food Cafe

“I opened my first restaurant venture with a loan from Main Street Launch, and without that loan I could have never gotten open,” remembers Calvin.

Parle Innovation

“Technology is a way to advance people’s lives, and while sometimes it has the potential to disconnect, it also holds the promise of immersion,” explains Mary.

iCAFE San Francisco

Part of their loan from Main Street Launch was to purchase a new ice machine, ovens for their fresh, baked goods, and various supplies to grow their fast paced café. Currently, the café has 4 part-time employees and has also opened its 2nd location: iCAFE Chinatown.

Malaya Acupuncture and Wellness Center

Emil Velasquez, owner of Malaya Acupuncture and Wellness Center, decided to launch his business after his parents got sick. “I wasn’t satisfied with the treatments they were receiving, so I decided to open a business where I could help educate people about Chinese medicine,” explains Emil.

Black Bark BBQ

David is a chef, and Monetta is a native San Franciscan, and they both have strong entrepreneurial spirits. They put their passions together ten years ago to open 1300 on Fillmore, a full-service restaurant in the Fillmore.

Barebottle Brewing Co.

“We found a sizeable space, about 16,000 square feet. The space gave us room to grow over the long term and add capacity as we expand. But we needed more money to buy equipment and for unknown future costs, which is what Main Street’s loan helped us do,” explains Mike.

Beauty’s Bagel Shop

Blake explains, “My dad grew up in Montreal, so Montreal-style bagels were a big part of my life growing up. My dad’s love for these bagels inspired us to want to start Beauty’s Bagel Shop.”

Luxurious Nail Boutique

Richard offers advice to aspiring entrepreneurs: “When you ask for money, make sure you can answer any question about the business. Your idea has to make sense on paper, and you have to focus on the details in the right order if you want to be successful.”

Motus Rehab Clinic

Lindsay encourages new entrepreneurs to take some time to self-reflect. “While It is important to plan, work hard, and put the time in; self-reflection is equally as important in my experience and sometime more so. You need to be able to look at your personal weaknesses and be willing to confront them so they do not hold your business back from thriving.”


“Working with Robert [Lattimore, Senior Vice President] was a great experience. He has so much knowledge and expertise that I know I can ask him any question about my business and get great advice,” says Sherri.

New Parkway

Four years since its inception, the New Parkway employs 40 people, has an excellent kitchen, and hosts various events outside of movies such as game nights and sports broadcasts. Customers flock to see the daily changing shows including reruns of classics, anime, and indie movies.

Triptych Strength

Tarquin offers advice to aspiring entrepreneurs: “Be prepared for the little things to add up – it will always cost more than you plan for. Be flexible with your business plan. Know what is non-negotiable and what you can adapt to meet your clients’ needs.”


Tytanium Ideas

“The loan gave us the ability to launch this new service faster and with more peace of mind,” says Tyler. “Working capital gave us more flexibility, so we could make the best long-term decisions for our business.”

Lexington Place

“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” says Nichole. “When I would see empty storefronts, I’d imagine what kind of business I could open there.”


Millennium Family Entertainment Center

“I’ve always wanted to be the one in charge, but I hadn’t found the right type of job where I could do that.” reflects Sara. She served in the Army Reserve, and her experience managing people in the military has helped her in running the business.

Anasa Yoga

“I’m a multicultural person with a very diverse background, and I really wanted to create a multicultural space,” says Jean Marie. “Anasa Yoga is what I hoped it would be.”

Mister Jiu’s

Mister Jiu’s opened in April 2016 in San Francisco’s Chinatown, but the idea for this restaurant has been developing for nearly three years. “I went everywhere to try and get funding and support to open,” remembers Brandon.

Alicia K Designs

“I felt like the banks did not understand my business or what I would be able to achieve with some capital,” Alicia reflects.


Acumen Building Enterprise

Walter joined the Navy at 17 years old and served for seven years. He stays connected to his military roots, dedicating Acumen to employing veterans, people of color, and women.

Professional Computer Support

Now, Professional Computer Support delivers custom service packages that are fully scalable and available for a flat-rate fee, allowing their clients to work without worrying about IT costs they can’t support.

Taiwan Bento

Taiwan Bento works to bridge a lot of cultures, creating an environment that everyone feels comfortable in. As a business owner, Willy advises new businesses establish a good financial cushion.

Emanuel Coffee

To pay for the business, Irene used her own money and credit cards. “I didn’t have money to take care of myself,” reflects Irene. “I spent everything to follow my passion.”

Picnic on Third

“It takes more than your in-house team to be successful. We love that everyone who works with us is really part of the business.”

Cafe Underwood

Dominick reflects, “After two years, we’re realizing the full vision that we started with. It’s incredibly rewarding to see it all come together.”

Spice Monkey

Spice Monkey brings mouth-watering, globally inspired cuisine together with a warm-hearted service staff. “Seeing the joy when someone relaxes around a table with the people they love is the real benefit I get from my business,” says Kanitha.

Wine Down

Jaime offers advice to other entrepreneurs considering opening a bar or restaurant: “You need patience and persistence. We spoke to other bar and restaurant owners as we were starting out. They all gave great advice. Our biggest takeaway was that you should expect it to take twice as long and cost twice as much as you originally thought—and they were right—so plan accordingly.”


Fair Game

Terry shares how happy he is to have come across Veteran Launch: “You are doing an enormously valuable service for veterans. It was a pleasure to find Veteran Launch and receive the loan that helped me acquire Fair Game.”

VIP Grooming

“When we found the location, we knew we had to jump on this perfect opportunity to expand the business. We couldn’t have done it without the second loan from Main Street Launch,” says Lancy. “The loan allowed us to revamp the new place, set aside money we’d need to grow this new investment, purchase equipment, and help us expand our staff.”

The Port Bar

Sean Sullivan has been an advocate for the LGBTQ community and the Oakland small business community for 15 years. He and his partner Richard Fuentes saw an opportunity to create a gathering place open seven days per week, specifically focused on serving LGBTQ people and Uptown.


Haute Butch

HauteButch opened in April 2012, offering their customers a line of masculine and gender-neutral clothing and footwear designed for women’s bodies.


The Waffle Experience

The Waffle Experience offers a large menu for breakfast and lunch, all centered around waffles. If you’ve never tried a burger on a waffle or a salad with a waffle base, these guys have you covered.

Bernal Cutlery

Bernal Cutlery offers several classes that cover breaking down fish and vegetables with Japanese techniques, everyday Western knife skills, and Japanese Whetstone sharpening.

Jenny Pennywood

In 2008, Jen Garrido was exclusively working as a fine artist in several galleries. When the recession hit, everything stopped. Jen has always been business-driven and created work for herself, so she got creative about other ways to use her experience as an artist to make money.

Barron Ross

Ed’s business works passionately to support their clients and their families to plan and pay for long-term care. His $50,000 Main Street Launch loan helped upgrade their technology and systems, so they could spend more of their time with clients, and less on arduous record keeping.

Kingston 11

Kingston 11 is truly a part of Oakland, and their business employs 30 people from the community. Nigel notes, “Oakland is a diverse city, and we want our restaurant to reflect the community. From our management team to our customer service approach, we reflect Oakland.”

Cafe Santana

Richard Santana first read about the benefits of fresh roasted coffee while on a plane. Thirteen years later, he now owns a successful coffee roasting business in Oakland.


Now, their newest venture, MeetGeraldine, offers their clients the best of both of their brains: digital strategy and development from Geraldine and planning and branding support from Lauren.

Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack

Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack, located on 3230 Mission Street in San Francisco, is the culmination of Emily Kaplan’s life-long career working in the restaurant business and was almost a lost dream.

Dark Garden

“We’re a place where people can feel at home while making a living,” says Autumn.

Back to the Roots

Back to the Roots has a staff of 15 who are working to “undo food”, leading a new wave of food that demands total transparency about ingredient sources of what’s on the table.

Oakland Chop Bar

“I had lived in this neighborhood for five years before opening Oakland Chop Bar and I really felt we needed a place where people could walk from their homes, have a great meal and just hang out together,” said Pastena.

The Octopus Literary Salon

Outgrowing the living rooms that previously held events, the new space hosts musicians, performances, and literary events, reinterpreting the literary salon to fit the 21st century.

Noble Brewer

For Noble Brewer, it’s more than just craft beer but creating a unique experience by sharing the story of the homebrewers with friends and family. While stationed in Seattle and then in San Diego, Claude took advantage of the great beer scenes, developing a deeper interest in craft beer.