Napa Sonoma SBDCSanta Rosa and Napa, California

“The SBDC was a great help for me. They saw my idea and showed the same passion and drive I had for getting this project off the ground. Their expertise in the industry helped me get to where I needed. If it was not for the SBDC I would not be where I am today. When I open my next venture they will be a big part of it.”

Rick Molinari

“Local for locals” is the philosophy of Napa’s newest cafe, which opened last week serving Italian sandwiches, pastries, and French-pressed teas and coffees. “I’ve wanted to do this for 15 years,” said Rick Molinari, who spent eight months pulling together details for his cafe. “I guess it’s in my blood.” His parents owned the Rossi Delicatessen; his uncle was a teacher at Napa High School. Molinari traveled through Greece and Italy to get ideas for the cafe. He also brought back Italian espresso machines and cups. For his coffee and tea, Molinari is buying products from John Weaver, a former coffee master with Peet’s Coffee. For his other products, Molinari said he is trying to stick with local providers as much as possible. He opens with breakfast pastries from Sweetie Pies bakery, and Model Bakery is making the breads for the panini he’ll serve during the day.

Rick Molinari first accessed the Business and Entrepreneurship Center at Napa resources in July of 2011, contacting Director Charlie Monahan to be his Economic Development partner. He immediately took the Food Safety Manager’s Training through the BEC. Rick was searching for a location for his Deli and Coffee House and began to work with Director Monahan on assumptions and projections for the different locations that were available in the downtown. As the article above indicates, Rick was very motivated to open this business in Napa. In fall of 2011, Rick signed a lease agreement and began his build out of the site.

Charlie Monahan and Rick Molinari cast the projections of revenues and expenses several times to get different scenarios and outcomes possible. Together, they forecast employee schedules, HR Policy book, Training Materials, and Opening Calendars. Rick completed his opening menu, start up checklist, project cost and opening calendar. Rick sent his newly hired staff through the BEC’s Food Handler Certificate training. The work on the Deli progressed at a faster rate than expected and in March, Rick made his opening hire and began training.

Rick and Charlie got together again and reviewed the flow of food prep and service, noting some specific potential issues and making recommendations for resolving them. They reviewed the opening training and soft opening as well as checked scheduled labor against projections and all was in order.

In early April, Rick Molinari did a soft opening, having created a beautiful deli on a very frugal opening budget that utilized local architects and contractors. Molinari Caffé had an initial hire of 14 employees and has been an immediate success in the heart of Napa.

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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.