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From struggling bagel shop to successful catering company

In June of 1998, Richard Bier, president of Isaac's Bakery Deli Inc., dba Isaac's Catering, purchased a struggling bagel shop and immediately began delivery service to the neighboring corporations. Six months later, he hired a chef and began creating menus for corporate businesses and personally visited the local businesses to promote his company. Isaac's is now a successful catering business with 14 employees, featuring a variety of freshly prepared food from pastries to Beef Wellington; everything is prepared from scratch, by Isaac's staff, each morning. In addition to corporate catering, Isaac's offers a variety of services including aviation catering, bar service, equipment rental and event planning.

In September 2007, Bier acquired a competitor and utilized SBA's 7(a) loan guaranty program to qualify for a loan through Wells Fargo Bank (NYSE: WFC). The loan was used to incorporate additional staff and equipment into the business during the acquisition.

Despite the current recession, the company's corporate and event catering division is currently thriving; it is working on expanding its large events and aviation catering and venturing into other areas as well. The company hopes to soon offer aviation catering delivery service, from Long Beach to the Mexican Border, and is working on opening another cafeteria early next year in a building currently being remodeled for that purpose. As these expansion projects develop, Isaac's expects to hire more employees.

In 2007, Isaac's was recognized as the Small Business of the Year by the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce. Isaac's also gives back to the community by providing complimentary baked goods for events raising money for various nonprofit organizations and their causes. They also partner with a corporate client that organizes employee volunteers to help clean lagoons or serve other nonprofit organizations, such as the Boy's and Girls Club and the YMCA. This year, there were a total of 500 volunteers for these projects.

When asked what he likes the most about being a small business owner, Bier said, "I like the ability to make logical, reasonable decisions and see those decisions become reality in a short period of time."

He is always looking for hot growth opportunities, which frequently start with a customer's request. Bier credits some of his success to the fact that he takes the time to find and hire great people to work with him. As a result, the majority of the business responsibilities now rest with capable employees. On occasion, he still works the more complicated jobs, but now has more time to enjoy his personal life.

"Richard exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit that exists in America and he continues to show the rest of us why he is a small business success," said Ruben Garcia, SBA District Director for the San Diego Office.

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