Thursday, January 31, 2013

Panelists Share Insights on Running Successful Businesses

Passion. Conviction. Hardwork. Research.

These are just a few of the traits needed to run a successful business, according to a panel of experts that spoke to Mt. Sierra College's Career Club on Wednesday. City of Monrovia's Neighborhood and Business Services Supervisor, Sheila Spicer Batice, sat on the panel with business owners Anthony Nagatsuka of Yogurtland and Tracy Ramirez of the Market Grill.

City of Monrovia's Sheila Spicer Batice, left, Anthony Nagatsuka 
of Yogurtland, and Tracy Ramirez of Market Grill sat on a panel at 
Mt. Sierra College where they advised students on the process
of opening - and running - a successful business.
"The first lesson in business - and life - is to be humble," said Ramirez, who opened the Market Grill with her husband in 2009. Today, the Market Grill is a popular lunch destination and consistently receives 4 1/2 stars on Yelp. "But also be grateful, thankful for the opportunities you are given. And don't give up."

Ramirez and her husband were living in  Monrovia when they came across a less than 1,000 sf restaurant in need of an owner. A few months later, they opened their business at 525 S. Shamrock Avenue.

Understanding the demographics of their community is part of what contributed to their success - a sentiment that was echoed by the other panelists as well.

Before Nagatsuka and frachisee Marcus Chan opened Yogurtland at 104 S. Myrtle Avenue, he said they thoroughly researched the community and those who made up Monrovia. And once they were open, he said that it took significant marketing effort on all fronts, ranging from utilizing social media to joining the Monrovia Chamber of Commerce to visiting schools to simply getting out and introducing themselves to people.

Another key to their success is conviction. "I choose the best brand," he said, adding that the concept of wholeheartedly believing in the brand also contributed to his success when he owned a Subway.

Spicer, who has worked in Monrovia for nearly 30 years, told the group of nearly 15 students that she has seen her share of businesses come and go. But often what makes the difference between those that succeed is research - including having a solid business plan - and a dedication to hard work.

The panel was part of an ongoing series offered to students of Mt. Sierra College, a graphic design, media and business administration college.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Foothill Park Plaza Gets New Dental Office

 West Coast Dental Group of Monrovia is the newest addition to Foothill Park Plaza. The Monrovia Chamber of Commerce, Monrovia City Council members and legislative representatives celebrated the opening on Monday of the Dental Group at its location at 154 W. Foothill Blvd. This is the Group's 26th location in Southern California.

Monrovia Council members Tom Adams, left,
and Becky Shevlin welcome Dr. Hadis Reyhani
and West Coast Dental on Monday.

Dr. Hadis Reyhani, above, was there along with his staff on Monday to promote the new opening. They are also hoping to attract new customers with a free whitening service, available at the front counter.

The Monrovia Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting
on Monday celebrating the opening of West Coast Dental.
This is the third new addition to the Foothill Park Plaza in recent months. Weight Watchers is now open and Fantastic Sams is set to open soon.

West Coast Dental can be reached at (626) 263-3333.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

City of Hope Celebrates 100 Years

DUARTE - City of Hope, one of America's leading cancer-treating and research hospitals, celebrated its centennial last week in addition to officially breaking ground for an 8,000 planned Kaplan Family Pavilion.

According to an article in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, the visitor center will include a concert venue, multimedia, conference and presentation rooms, exhibit spaces, and outdoor areas.

The City of Hope is one of 41 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, and maintains the No. 1 breast cancer, prostate, and hematology programs in California, according to the hospital's Fast Facts.

While the City of Hope employs hundreds of people at its campus in Duarte, the center has also expanded some of its administrative operations to Monrovia. When it originally moved to its location at 800 Royal Oaks Drive in Monrovia, it involved the relocation of nine departments from the headquarters in Duarte to Monrovia, according to the City of Hope's website. Now, the City of Hope is among several medical-related businesses in Monrovia, including LabCorp, Staar Surgical, Esoterix Genetic Labs and Monrovia Modern Healthcare. And this is a cluster that the City hopes continues to grow.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Puff Monkey: From Hello Kitty to Ronald Reagan

If you have walked down Old Town in the last two months you may have noticed a store at Myrtle and Colorado with bright pink paint on the interior and three-foot stuffed animals, Angry Birds umbrellas and large amounts of  Japanese pop-culture related apparel and accessories.

Known as Puff Monkey, at 427 S. Myrtle Avenue, the Japanese boutique carries brands such as Hello Kitty, Domo, Totoro, Android and Adventure Time. It also specializes in entry-level to designer and limited-edition collectibles, as well as the occasional attention-grabbing product like a human sized Hello Kitty and busts of political figures such as former President Ronald Reagan.

Bringing their family-owned business to Monrovia, Judy Chiang and her husband, who each have 15 years of business experience in this field,  hope to serve our community with a friendly environment. Chiang said she and her husband hope that Monrovia’s young families will find their favorite characters at the store while at the same-time spark childhood memories among the parents.

This addition fills a long time vacancy created by the departure of Mimmers, who relocated to 505 S. Myrtle Avenue.

To stop by Puff Monkey, visit them during the hours of:

Monday: 11 a.m – 5 p.m
Tuesday – Thurday: 11 a.m – 7 p.m
Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m – 8 p.m
Sunday: 11 a.m – 5 p.m