For 16 years, Candace Wiegand and her family have run Mocha Magic, a downtown Modesto coffee and sandwich shop. When she first opened the establishment, there were at most 16 other restaurants and eateries downtown. Over the years, eating establishments proliferated to over 50, including the arrival of not one but two Starbucks. Still the shop prospered. Then the Great Recession struck in 2008. Many businesses in the immediate area shrank or closed and in early 2010 Candace found her business in financial difficulty.
In August of 2010, Candace contacted the Alliance SBDC for assistance in marketing, advertising, business planning, finances and bookkeeping. She also participated in the SBDC’s 12 week NxLevel Course program in order to better understand business fundamentals and how to incorporate them into the running of her business.
Over the next five months she worked closely with the three different SBDC consultants. First, to evaluate her product costs, understand her gross and net margin, and retool her menu offerings to optimize profits at more competitive pricing. She soon gained a better understanding of P&L statements and her balance sheet, and learned the different types of “profit” and how her business practices could improve her margins. She worked with the SBDC to become proficient in QuickBooks and improved her financial practices from reviewing her books once a month to being able to review them daily and weekly in order to make changes as needed.
She also worked closely with the SBDC to develop a business and marketing plan, and to implement marketing outreach efforts designed to create awareness of her establishment. Candace reports that business began to improve within a month of her implementing a new menu (October 2010), and repositioning her business as “Homemade Sandwiches, Soups, Salads and Gourmet Coffee” to establish a clear value proposition to consumers. She has seen a steady growth and continues to actively promote her business. She collects customers’ emails addresses and promotes via email. The Alliance SBDC continues to maintain a close relationship with Candace and stands ready to assist as she grows her business.