Tierra Mia Coffee enjoys the aroma of success
Tierra Mia Coffee Company has been tantalizing Los Angeles taste buds and growing at an astounding rate since it opened the doors of its first coffeehouse in 2008.
From one store in 2008, Hispanic-owned Tierra Mia has blossomed into a unique, Hispanic-inflected coffee powerhouse with eight stores in the Los Angeles area, two in the Bay Area and another one on the way in Long Beach, financed with a SBA loan from CDC Small Business Finance.
Ulysses Romero, founder and president of Tierra Mia, is an outstanding example of small business owners who combine inspiration with a hard-work ethic to achieve growing success.
After growing up in the neighborhoods of Norwalk and La Habra neighborhoods, attending UC Berkeley and earning an MBA at Stanford, Ulysses became motivated to start his own business, one that would cater to Hispanics, a demographic that continues to grow today. In 2007, he incorporated Tierra Mia Coffee and a year later opened his first coffeehouse in South Gate. In the ensuing five years, he opened seven more stores in central L.A. and two in the Bay Area.
The growth of Ulysses’ company has been remarkably steady. From 2012 to 2014, his net worth increased from $647,000 to $2.9 million, driven by sales that reached $11.3 million in 2014. He now employs 210 people and plans to create an additional 10 jobs when his Long Beach location opens.
Initially purchasing roasted coffee from domestic providers, Ulysses soon became even more passionate about the quality of his coffee. So early into the growth of Tierra Mia, he ventured to South America and established contracts with coffee growers in El Salvador, Honduras, Columbia and Brazil. In launching an aggressive import program, he exacted more control over product quality – from farm to table – and further enhanced the Tierra Mia brand.
Encouraged by success, Ulysses wanted to give back to the various communities that have supported Tierra Mia over the years. Thus, last year was born the Tierra Mia Cares Foundation, which funds literacy programs in partnering elementary schools in South Gate, Lynwood and Pico Rivera. Among the programs rolled out is Read With Me, which sends a backpack of books home with children (ages kindergarten through second grade) along with a parent guide that encourages parent-child reading.
In addition to this domestic program, Ulysses supports a non-profit organization in Brazil launched by one of Tierra Mia’s coffee growers. Low-income children enjoy after-school sports through this charitable enterprise.
Opportunity to lighten debt burden
“This is great news for small businesses that need financial breathing room to grow and create new jobs,” said Kurt Chilcott, president of CDC Small Business Finance, a leading nonprofit lender providing Small Business Administration (SBA) loans.
An estimated $222 billion in commercial real estate debt is set to mature in 2016 and 2017. Much of this debt is owed by small businesses still struggling in a lukewarm economy.
Under the new SBA Refinance program, small businesses can take advantage of lower rates, fixed for 20 years, to lighten their monthly debt burden, improve cash flow and stabilize or expand operations.
With rising interest rates, many small businesses will be challenged to qualify for a conventional
refinance loan versus an SBA loan. With the new SBA Refi loan, small business can take advantage of 90% financing.
Small business owners can prequalify for a SBA Refi loan by contacting one of several CDC Small Business Finance loan officers in California, Arizona and Nevada. Or call 800.611.5170.
Small business owners get three extra days to file their tax returns this year. Instead of the traditional April 15, the 2016 due date was pushed to April 18, a delay caused by the federal government’s celebration of Emancipation Day, which will close all federal offices, including the IRS.
Despite the change of tax-return day, it still is a good idea to get a head start on prepping for this fateful day. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Get your paperwork in order. Collect all receipts, statements, donation letters, and last year’s tax return and put them in a safe place.
- Make a list of the tax documents you expect to receive, such as W-2s, 1099s, 1099Rs, 1098-Ts, etc. Check them off the list as you receive them.
- Contact your tax preparer as soon as you have most or all of your documents in hand.
- Hire a tax accountant who has experience in your type of business, whether it’s retail, wholesale, professional, manufacturing, etc.
- Deduct educational expenses that maintain or improve skills required in your present employment, including seminars, classes and convention fees.
- Don’t wait until the last minute!