Mendocino SBDCFort Bragg California

"My SBDC Business Advisors were a great resource for business planning, and were an instrumental asset while editing my business plan and financial projections. They are amazing and savvy, wise in the dynamics of the restaurant business and helped to give me the confidence I needed to go for it!”

Jennifer Sullivan

Hopland Ale House is located in the former Hopland Brewery off Highway 101 in Hopland. Jennifer Sullivan fell in love with the Hopland area and moved to Hopland from San Jose in April of 2012. She renovated the space and opened the Hopland Ale House for business in December of 2012. The Ale House serves beer, wine, sandwiches, chili, and a variety of other high-quality entrees and offers live music, televised sports, and other events to entertain patrons. Jennifer has had great reviews of her food, drink, and service since opening and showed a profit in her first month.

Jennifer is an accomplished cook, but had never owned a restaurant business before and needed help writing a viable business plan. She had some savings to invest in the project, but knew that money would be tight and that commercial banks would be unlikely to approve a loan for her business. She sought assistance in negotiating a favorable lease, planning how to start the business with very limited cash, and how to manage the finances of the business once it was up and running.

Jennifer worked with and SBDC Business Advisor on her business plan, and helped Jennifer negotiate a lease with her landlord. Jennifer applied for a loan which was not approved, and West Company then helped her come up with a revised plan to open the Ale House by “bootstrapping.” With the SBDC's help, Jennifer was able to get a small loan from a local lender to purchase a POS system for her business. West Company also brought an expert restaurant consultant to consult with Jennifer on menu planning, cost reduction, ordering and purchasing, and other essential issues, and her SBDC Business Advisor continued to assist Jennifer with financial management throughout the planning and startup period.

When she opened the Hopland Ale House, Jennifer Sullivan created six new jobs in Hopland. The Ale House showed a positive change in sales in its first month and Jennifer is looking forward to a busy springtime in Hopland.

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.