Client Success Stories

  • Doctor Kenneth Yu


    Dr. Kenneth Yu is a facial and reconstructive plastic surgeon who also does fills and other related procedures. Dr. Yu retired as a colonel after serving 21 years in the United States Air Force where he served service personnel and their families.  He continues to serve out veterans as he works part time at the Veteran’s Hospital while he is growing his practice.  Dr. Yu takes a lot of pride in his work and the quality of the services he provides. He believes in a close personal relationship with his clients to help them feel comfortable in his office. He designed the office himself and his wife did the décor and decorations. It is set up to be a welcoming environment to patients from the first consultation to the follow up of a procedure.

    Dr. Yu located his office in the Dominion area at 21727 IH 10 W, Suite 218, in a new facility. He started his practice with his patient coordinator, Morgan.  He opened his practice in November 2016 with assistance from David Baenziger, Certified Senior Business Adviser.

    Congrats on the new facility and best of luck in this new year.




    We Help Small Businesses

    The UTSA Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers integrated services to new and experienced business owners in San Antonio, Bexar, and 10 surrounding counties. We provide professional, confidential one-on-one  business advising services at no charge.  The UTSA SBDC offers no-cost/low-cost training workshops covering a variety of topics to help entrepreneurs grow.

  • Owner: Laura Diaz

    Laura Diaz has been a hairdresser and stylist for several years, working at other salons. In November 2012, she decided to open her own salon which she named Mint Salon. She found a small space (approximately 350 square feet) on S. Presa in the growing Southtown area. She started with one other stylist working with her. She quickly outgrew the space and wanted to add stylists, but had space for only one more chair.

    Laura was referred to Crystal Darby, Senior Business Advisor by Rebecca Montalvo, former Marketing Associate in the SBDC’s Training Department. Laura needed advice on managing the business. Laura also needed a larger space. Crystal analyzed the costs, leasing rates for the area and the square footage.  Laura located an 1800 square foot space, a little further down S. Presa, but in a much more active area. The new location provides considerably more exposure and walk-in traffic. Laura credits Crystal with helping her through all of the roadblocks she faces as her business grows. She now has eight stylists and the business is continuing to grow.

    “Crystal has been very encouraging and supportive in helping with the transition of the new salon. She has advised me and helped through all the roadblocks. I am so thankful for her.”

  • Pulp coffee

    James Mireles has owned the Ristretto Group, a private label coffee company. Over decades, he has become an expert on coffee – roasting and brewing. He has imported beans and sold them with private labels to restaurants and coffee houses, as well as other retailers. The company was based in California.

    James wanted to bring his business to San Antonio and start roasting in addition to private labeling. He felt that the east side of San Antonio was the next area for growth. He met with Jackie Gorman of San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside (SAGE) to discover available resources to help launch his San Antonio based company.

    SAGE referred James to Crystal Darby, Senior Business Advisor at the UTSA Small Business Development Center. Crystal helped with the business plan, financials, research, and more. James found out about warehouse space, owned by Local Sprout. There are a number of food related businesses in the same area in addition to Local Sprout, including Truckin’ Tomato and Texas Black Gold Garlic. James Mireles started Pulp Coffee in December 2015. Pulp Coffee was recently featured in the June/July 2016 issue of “Edible San Antonio.”

    The shared warehouse concept fits the business well. Pulp Coffee also carries a line of high end organic teas, which is very rare for coffee roasters.

    “Crystal Darby was a great help in the process of my transition coming back from California to Texas after having spent 12 years in the LA/OC area. The tools that she was able to give us helped make our decision to go straight into the private label wholesale market versus the retail market. Thankfully we are in a shared warehouse concept on the Eastside of downtown San Antonio. We are fortunate and thrilled to have exactly what we were looking for now.  Many great things are ahead in the future as we are just at the beginning of having San Antonio run on Pulp Coffee & Teas.”


  • Sharkeys_Cuts

    Owners, Todd and Jane Spears

    Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids provides a creative and fun atmosphere for children while they receive a great haircut and style. The goal of Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids is to provide superior services from warm, friendly staff, skilled styling, and a clean location while also keeping children entertained by allowing them to watch their favorite cartoons or Netflix movies! Owners Todd and Jane Spears opened their first location in August of 2007 on 281 near 1604 in The Legacy Shopping Center.  Through research and hard work, they opened a second store on Bandera Road and 1604, and now a third location at Culebra and 1604. The Spears want to provide kids and parents with a unique experience.  They want the haircut experience to be one that both the kids and parents will be ready to come back for!

    Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids offers extensive services to include boy’s and girl’s haircuts, bang trims, up-dos, spa packages, mom & daughter day packages, birthday parties, mini-cures, and much more. They also offer events/specials specifically tailored for kids.

    In 2007, the Spears attended a Business Plan class offered by The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Small Business Development Center (SBDC) taught by Patrice McElfresh, Senior Business Advisor.  They then set an appointment for guidance on writing the business plan and assistance with choosing the right location to start their business.  This included research on the demographics of the area while considering rent costs, building expenses, and area traffic. The Spears gathered information and chose to establish the first Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids in the Stone Oak area. By following this same model of careful demographic and location research, the Spears have been able to grow their business to make haircuts more fun for even more kids at Bandera and Culebra Roads!

    According to their Senior Business Advisor, Patrice McElfresh, “The Spears are wonderful and extremely friendly people.  They both utilize the skills learned in the corporate world from management to customer service to ensure that Sharkey’s succeeds.  Before opening their business they fully utilized the resources available and sought advice from numerous sources.  It wasn’t a decision made lightly and they continue to grow at a steady pace, doing their research along the way.”

    The UTSA SBDC looks forward to a long relationship with the Spears on their current business and any future business that they may have.

  • taste_elevated_UTSA_SBDC

    Founders, Lori and Benny Krieger

    Before discovering her talent for creating unique flavors in her kitchen, Lori Krieger worked in marketing and business development for corporate law firms in Washington DC. When she and her husband, Benny, traveled back to their small town in Castroville, Texas, they enjoyed their annual tradition of making fig chutney using figs from their back yard which produced abundantly every year. They both enjoyed making the fig chutney so much that it became more than just a hobby. This pushed them to take a leap of faith by quitting her jobs and starting their own business. The Kriegers created Taste Elevated – a specialty food manufacturer that produces premium cooking sauces, condiments and spreads.

    After a year in business, they wanted to start manufacturing their own products. They contacted the UTSA SBDC for assistance. With the help of the SBDC, the Kriegers completed their business plan and financial model, conducted market research and feasibility studies, and developed a loan package. Business advisors, Ben Garza and Crystal Darby helped connect them with People Fund, who approved a loan to renovate a building that would house their manufacturing center and their very own specialty food store. Lori’s hope in this venture was to bring a unique store where people can find specialty foods and gifts.

    Today, Taste Elevated products are sold on the shelves of all Central Markets, 40+ Whole Foods in the Southwest Region of Texas. Their mustard seeds recently went National at Whole Foods. The Kriegers want to inspire people into their own kitchens to create their own masterpieces. They have launched a farmer’s market in Castroville to showcase local producers, farmers and home gardeners. The Kriegers plan on expanding manufacturing on all sides: retail, service and corporate gifting. Their store inventory would expand to eventually carry wine and become a destination type of store where people come for an experience.

    “I am confident that we would not have made it to this point without the guidance, assistance and encouragement of UTSA Small Business Development Center in the early stages of our company. But, it didn’t stop there; our advisors have continued to stand by us every step of the way. Whether it be sourcing new funding, assistance with human resources or connecting us with resources for help with tax and accounting questions; UTSA SBDC has been with us each step of the way.”