Hillary Randolph is a self-described ‘Scrappy Entrepreneur.’ She is competing in the challenging retail environment of Santa Fe, New Mexico, which is greatly dependent on tourism. Hillary’s Wear Your Grace shop sells unique high-end jewelry and lifestyle accessories. She has operated here successfully since 2015. When the state went on COVID lockdown in 2020, sales plummeted, and Hillary sought the Santa Fe, NM SBDC mentoring to access all the financial support available to her.
"I wish to express my deep gratitude to Deborah Collins and the SBDC for their exceptional support during the challenges brought about by the Covid pandemic. Deborah, as my steadfast contact over the past several years, has consistently offered invaluable guidance and resources. Her expertise has not only steered my business through unprecedented circumstances but has also provided the necessary tools for sustained growth. I am appreciative of Deborah's unwavering commitment to excellence and the invaluable contributions of the SBDC team."
With the assistance of the New Mexico SBDC, Hillary received PPP and EIDL funding. She attended many training courses hosted by the SBDC, trying to regain her balance in this strange new reality.
Dr. Okpareke is no stranger to a world that has not always celebrated her accomplishments. She has overcome many hurdles to become a respected authority in the medical pharmacy field. Access to capital was one of the first challenges; after an arduous divorce, a potential lender even advised her to give up her dream and declare bankruptcy. Through each obstacle, she persevered; quitting was not an option.
Ndidiamaka began working with the New Mexico SBDC in 2016, providing startup business counseling, training, and loan assistance to help her start and grow her small business, Olive Tree Compounding Pharmacy, in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. The New Mexico SBDC network leverages other SBA resource partners and programs in supporting our clients, and Ndidiamaka is a testament to what clients collaborate.
Over the years, Ndidiamaka has worked closely with all of the SBA Resource Partners and Government Agencies to help her grow and expand her evolving business endeavors. She received a $10,000 STEP grant from the New Mexico Trade Alliance to build and optimize the Olive Tree Skin Inc. website. Additionally, she has worked with New Mexico APEX Accelerator to complete her SAM registration and WOSB certification in hopes of securing government contracts. Additionally, she has been awarded $75,000 in JTIP funding from the State Economic Development Department to hire and train new high-wage employees in New Mexico. She has worked with the Women Economic Self-Sufficiency Team (WESST) and meets once a quarter with her SCORE mentor to discuss the health of her businesses and upcoming plans of expansion. Ndidiamaka is also a top performer of the SBA Thrive program, which she completed in December 2022 and she even leveraged the New Mexico SBDC International Accelerator to assist her with international trade assistance.
Francisco Sanchez, 53, wanted to open his restaurant his whole life. In March 2022, along with his son and business partner Francisco Sanchez, Jr., 27, he made that dream a reality when they opened La Terraza de Taos, a Mexican restaurant on Paseo del Pueblo Sur in Taos.
“Most of the recipes that we have are from my grandmother, Maria Louisa Bahena, who passed away a couple years ago. We wanted to keep the tradition alive,” said Sanchez, Jr.
Sanchez and his father worked together in many of the most-loved restaurants in Taos for years, including at Medley, Sol Food Café, Ranchos Plaza Grill and Wild Leaven Bakery. “I started as a dishwasher when I was 14,” said Sanchez, Jr.
But running a kitchen and running a business are not the same thing. Although they found a great location and set up their kitchen, the duo was not yet able to open for business.
“He’s been helping me with payroll and accounting. So, he’s just showing me all the tricks to run a business.” Sanchez, Jr. said, adding that he and Anwar meet twice a month to keep the business on track and growing."
They needed help completing their paperwork and turned to the Small Business Development Center at UNM-Taos for guidance. “That’s when I got ahold of Anwar [Kaelin], and he’s the one that helped me establish an LLC and secure a business loan,” said Sanchez, Jr.
The SBDC also helped the Sanchezes get permitted with the NM Environment Department and apply for and receive their liquor license.
“He’s been helping me with payroll and accounting. So, he’s just showing me all the tricks to run a business,” Sanchez, Jr. said, adding that he and Anwar meet twice a month to keep the business on track and growing."
Now, La Terraza employs around seven workers, and serves Mexican and New Mexican cuisine to roughly 250 customers a day. Sanchez Sr. focuses on food prep and running the kitchen while his son covers everything else, sometimes helping in the kitchen. The two work 14-hour days but say “it’s worth it.”
The family-run restaurant also caters to in-house or on-location weddings and graduation parties. The outdoor patio for which the restaurant is named is a long way from the family’s roots in Acapulco, but the dream of business ownership is now finally a reality.