CLIENT SUCCESS AND TESTIMONIALS
Ms. Janina Washington and her new Pilates studio Balance Reform secured a $25,000 micro loan on February 14, 2020 after attending a Business Startup Workshop in December 2019. At the workshop Janina met PACE business counselor Supranee May who provided her one on one counseling and helped her access the necessary capital to purchase ownership of the studio she had helped build since 2014.
Janina is raised by a German mother and American Cherokee father. Her very esoteric and spiritually inclined mother introduced Janina to the world of Healers, Reiki Masters and Mediums at a very young age. At a young age she trained in musical theater, acting, singing, and studied dance for over a decade. When she moved to LA, she discovered Pilates, which offered the mind/body connection she was looking for, as well as an excellent workout. Janina Washington is a Certified Reiki Master Practitioner and intuitive animal healer & communicator. Holding space for people and animals to restore balance is a rewarding passion, and to own a studio has been a long time dream.
Balance Reform is located on Melrose Avenue near West Los Angeles. Ms. Washington is a passionate and experienced Pilates instructor, specializing in mind/body connection. Experienced business counselor Supranee May discovered Janina’s passion and helped align her dreams with a solid personal and business strategy for succeeding. She helped Ms. Washington with her business plan development, financial projections, cash flow analysis, and marketing strategy. She helped educate and dissuade her from pursuing other high-interest lending sources; instead providing her new access to capital and financing options that would lead her on a better path to financial success.
Since February Janina has successfully paid-off her high interest debt, increasing her cash-flow and enabling her to hire more instructors. Today, she continues working closely with business counselor Supranee May, open to learn and experiment creative ways to work through adversities like the current COVID-19 crisis, but continue with a passionate approach to growing her business and community service.
Henry Chan, founder of CareRinger (left) and Peter Chan, Councilman of Monterey Park (right) at Langley Center Bazaar.
Henry Chan is an inventor and a former telecommunications professional attending to people with special needs. He enrolled in the PACE Women’s Business Center (WBC) ETP program in fall of 2015. By March 2016, he started his business “CareRinger”, hoping to offer automated telephone reassurance service to seniors and their family caregivers in the Greater Los Angeles areas.
CareRinger calls homebound seniors one or more times a day. If the senior is not responding to the call, CareRinger will contact the family caregiver or friend and let them know that the senior may need their help. The service is not intended to replace the Personal Emergency Response Service (PERS), such as Life Alert or E911 for safety, but mainly to provide relief to caregivers and peace of mind to the families. It supports “aging in place” and organizations sharing the same passion. Unlike other services, CareRinger, with its unique technology, is not intrusive and friendly to use.
PACE WBC has been supporting the CareRinger initiative and providing both technical and legal assistance to establish the procedures needed to offer the service to a larger audience. Through PACE WBC, Henry was introduced to PACECARE which serves families in need of caregiver services. He hopes to work with PACECARE as a channel partner. Recently, CareRinger shared a booth with PACECARE at the Monterey Park Langley Center Fall Bazaar (2016). Seniors and their families showed up at the booth for information about CareRinger. After finding out about the service, many asked for extra copies of the flyers so they can pass on the information. Henry continues to keep in touch with Swann Do, PACE WBC Director.
Xiumin Zhu (left) and Hongquan Li (right), owners of Energy Massage
Xiumin Zhu and her husband, Hongquan Li, came to the U.S. seeking asylum from China. When they first arrived they took on many odd jobs to get by such as restaurant helper, care taker and masseuse. After becoming certified massage therapists, Xiumin and Hongquan worked in the industry for 4 years and dreamed of one day starting their own massage business.
They came to PACE and met their counselor Dandan Shan, who enrolled them in the Office of Refugee Resettlement Microenterprise Development program. because they want to start their own business one day. They also enrolled in PACE’s “Saving for the American Dream” Individual Development Account (IDA) Program, saved $2,000 of their own money, and were matched with a $2,000 in working capital for their business. With the knowledge, training, support they received, Ms. Zhu and Mr. Li confidently started their business, Energy Massage, in early 2015.
With their good service they saw their business steadily grow to $11,000 in monthly revenue and were able to hire 3 full time employees. With the opportunity to expand on their success, they decided to open another location and invested over $25,000 of their previous earnings in remodeling and furniture. They came back to PACE and received a $15,000 SBA Microloan to help them hire four more employees. They look forward to opening their new location next month!
The Massage Place
Ms. Parunwatee Suksawad immigrated to the United States from Thailand in 2012. In Thaliand, Ms. Suksawad had worked as an HR manager. Despite holding advanced degrees from her native country, like many immigrants, she had to start her life over upon arrival to the US.
In January 2012, Parunwatee began working at a local Thai spa. Due to her hardworking nature and excellent managerial skills, she immediately caught the eye of the owner who took her under his wing and provided her with guidance and mentoring. It was not long before Parunwatee received a life-changing proposition – the spa’s owner offered to sell her one of his 6 spas! He also volunteered to provide ongoing mentoring throughout her first year of ownership.
While Parunwatee had some capital to inject into the business, she needed an additional loan to finance the spa’s purchase. She came to PACE and, with the assistance of counselor Phuong Le, was able to receive technical assistance and information on increasing revenue, expanding her business and employment regulations. Phuong also assisted her with securing a loan of $50,000. Today, business is booming! Since purchasing The Massage Place, Parunwatee has been able to hire 3 additional staff and retain 25 employees. She also plans to buy a 2nd spa within the year.
Sawadee Thai Spa
Aksarapak Bondu, founder of Sawadee Thai Spa
Aksarapak Bondu and her three children immigrated to the U.S. in 2007 with just some luggage and the cash in her pocket. A single mother, Aksarapak struggled with assimilating into their new home since she spoke limited English and had little money to cover her family’s daily expenses. She remained resilient and did not get support from welfare. She was able to bring in an income for her family by selling Thai costumes at the open market in Fairfax and working for Equinox Sports Club as a Massage Therapist.
In early 2011 she successfully opened a Thai Spa in Westwood called Sawadee Thai Spa. Then in early 2013, she also opened a traditional Thai clothing store in Hollywood. Both of her businesses bring in a combined $300,000 in annual revenue and have created 13 jobs.
Aksarapak came to PACE with an ambitious plan to open five additional spa locations in five years. She came to PACE and met her Loan Counselor, Phoung Le. Phuong provided her with technical assistance and information regarding employment. He also helped her to secure $61,000 for her business expansion plans. She looks forward to beginning renovation on her next location this year and recruiting ten more staff to join her team.