Client Success Stories

  • 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.”

  • Laurie Creasy

    Laurie Creasy has led a life of service and continues that path with the opening of her mediation service, Laurie A. Creasy, Mediator, on January 1st, 2016 in New Braunfels, Texas. Laurie has over 20 years of service in the legal field specializing in divorce, custody and family matters. She is an experienced and Credentialed Mediator having mediated Family Law, Civil Law, Criminal Law, CPS issues and many others. She lives by her core values of integrity, honesty, reliability, family and helping others.

    As a former paralegal, I have the knowledge and experience to understand complex divorce or Attorney General issues. My core values are integrity, honesty, reliability, family, and helping others. I look forward to assisting you in solving your dispute

    What makes me unique is the personal attention, commitment and energy I bring to each client relationship. Each person in the dispute process is important to me, and I work diligently to ensure that the client’s planning and execution are designed specifically to meet her or his dispute resolution needs and goals.

  • Daniel and the chair

    Daniel Miller is owner of OxySmiles. He decided an Oxygen Bar in New Braunfels would be a great addition to the community and a fun business to own. The beautiful wellness center provides guests with Oxygen Therapy, Cosmetic Teeth Whitening, and Zero Gravity Massaging Pods. Daniel spent years working in corporate America and longed to have a local business of his own. At OxySmiles, we put health and happiness at the center of your well-being. Located in the heart of downtown New Braunfels.

    Daniel said, “Larry provided guidance and support that I found very helpful to opening my new business.” The insight provided was valuable in getting setup for success. Larry’s strong background in finance was especially helpful. Many thanks.”