Napa Sonoma SBDCSanta Rosa and Napa, California

"Working with the SBDC and BEC was great! They both were with me from the very beginning. Without their help, I wouldn't have finished the project."

Yusuf Topal

On August 29, 2011 Yusuf Topal contacted the Business and Entrepreneurship Center at Napa Valley with a problem. He had sketched out a description of his new restaurant, the Tarla Grill on a single sheet of paper. He was seeking an SBA loan of $150,000 to bridge his $150,000 capital infusion and the landlord’s commitment of $168,000 for tenant improvement. Tarla Grill was already under initial construction inside the Avia Hotel, a trendy boutique hotel in the heart of the City of Napa.

Yusuf had contacted several banks without success; however SAFE-BIDCO in Santa Rosa indicated they would be interested in completing this loan if a business plan and work in progress could be completed that showed the ability to have sufficient cash flow to service the debt. Yusuf’s financial plan called for the project being completed by the end of November with a December opening timeline. Yusuf had done some initial work with the Napa SBDC.

Yusuf met with the SBDC virtually every other day, completing sample menus, identifying target markets and marketing strategies. He fashioned his management sections from the resumes of all key personnel. Yusuf and the SBDC cast 3 years of projections of revenues and expenses from assumptions. They revised and documented elements of the project cost. On the 22nd of September, the first final business plan was completed and sent to SAFE-BIDCO.

As is often the case, additional information was requested. On October 4th, SAFE-BIDCO requested separate Rent and Cam on projections, three years of projections by month, an invoice summary for work already done, summary project cost restated to current, copies of all invoices of work in progress and a statement that Yusuf’s wife Breanna will continue current employment. Yusuf met again with the SBDC and completed items requested and completed the packet, wrote a cover letter and resent to SAFE-BIDCO. 

With the packet now complete, SAFE-BIDCO indicated a willingness to make the loan, awaiting approval from SBA. On October 24th, official notification of the loans approval came via mail and the loan was funded. Yusuf has a total of $470,000 capital infusion and hired 26 employees. Tarla Grill opened in late December with very positive reviews. Yusuf said what all Business and Entrepreneurship Centers love to hear, “I couldn’t have done this without you!”

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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.