Gourmet Purveyors International distributes healthy, gourmet snacks and beverages such as
nutrient-enhanced sodas and waters, energy bars and drinks, all-natural chips, and sugar-free
gum and mints. Founded in 2007, the company serves retailers in Los Angeles, Orange County,
San Fernando Valley and the Inland Empire. In late 2008, co-founders Richard Medina and Jon-
Paul Chevalier brought longtime friend Arthur Flores on to handle the administrative, accounting
and financial side of the business. One of Flores’ first moves as part of the company was to
visit the Pacific Coast Regional SBDC.
“As a recent college grad, I didn’t have experience running a business,” Flores explains. “I knew
the textbook version of things, but I needed to know the street-smart version of things.”
Getting a loan for the business was Flores’ first priority. SBDC Business Advisor Nestor Correa
helped him prepare a business plan that included a marketing campaign and sales projections,
and connected him with potential lenders. Flores also took QuickBooks training classes.
• Passion pays off. A young business without much cash flow, Gourmet Purveyors
was turned down by banks and credit unions. But Correa believed in them—
“I could tell these guys were going to work really hard to make the business
grow”— and PCR gave the company a $35,000 microloan. “Nestor saw our passion
and drive,” says Flores.
• Marketing matters. “The SBDC’s marketing consultant advised us how to organize
our sales better and get our Web site up and running,” says Flores. “We brainstormed
a lot of ideas.”
• Get a grip on financials. “From accounting classes, QuickBooks classes and consulting,
I learned how other companies handle their finances, and about Quick-
Books features that could help me,” says Flores.
• Work your connections. Through the SBDC, Flores forged relationships with the
SBA, a credit union and key vendors that helped raise Gourmet Purveyors’ profile.
Using the $35,000 loan, Gourmet Purveyors hired employees and purchased more inventory
and equipment. Since Flores first visited the SBDC in April 2009, the company’s monthly sales
have quadrupled from $20,000 to over $80,000.
Flores sees even bigger things ahead. “The next step is getting more financing,” he says. With
bigger stores such as Gelson’s, Jon’s Market and Mother’s Market all poised to become clients
soon, the business will need additional trucks, employees and inventory. “I feel more confident
about getting a loan this time,” says Flores, “[thanks to] the connections we’ve made.”
Going forward, Flores says the SBDC will continue to be part of the company’s success plan.
“I feel like we’re part of a family at the SBDC.”