MEDA’s Strategic Plan 2017-2020 re-envisions its work via five measurable results to be achieved for the San Francisco Mission District community by 2020.
RESULT 5: THE MISSION IS A STRONG AND SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY FOR LATINO RESIDENTS, BUSINESSES AND INSTITUTIONS
MEDA is committed to ensuring the Mission District retains its historic and current identity as a strong Latino community, and a welcoming place for immigrants and the generations of Latino families who have long called the neighborhood home. This means that Latinos of all income levels are able to call the Mission District their permanent home, along with the small businesses and community institutions serving them. We envision a family-friendly community offering affordable retail, restaurants, child care, housing, arts and culture, blue-collar jobs, parks and transit that create a neighborhood of opportunity.
Following is a story of a neighborhood venture representing the type of family-serving business MEDA looks to help thrive.
Owner: Benjamin Esqueda and Minerva Hallacy
Business: B & M Studio
Address: 3412 25th St.
Product: Beauty services, hair design and coloring
(answered by Minerva)
What gave you your idea to start your business?
I arrived from El Salvador 30 years ago. I enrolled in a government program where I was assigned to work in different offices developing shorthand, typing and filing skills. At the same time, I also learned English. After 14 years of arduous work, I enrolled at Skyline College in San Bruno, where I completed a customer-service training and acquired computer skills at the same time as working in offices, but, unfortunately, the program moved to a different state and I suddenly found myself unemployed. I decided to take part in the hairstylist field and got a job in a Mission salon. Through the years, I developed my business with a personalized style that marked a difference between my services and other hair salons in the area. I worked only by appointment, which gave customized attention to clients, who felt tremendously satisfied with the services. That encouraged me to open my own salon, and some clients even offered themselves as investors to make my business dream a reality.
What has your experience been opening a business in the Mission?
We have worked worked for many years in different beauty salons in the Mission area, and one day we met and decided to partner in business. For 14 years, I have been dedicated to providing quality services, expanding my clientele. Last summer, a great opportunity came up when my aunt, Mrs. Lucy, who owned a beauty salon located around the 25th and Mission streets, retired and transferred the salon’s lease to Benjamin and me. MEDA was present when it happened, and has been supporting B & M Studio through this process. We appreciate the organization’s efforts toward our business growth.
How does your business/business idea relate to your life?
I have strong attachments to my profession as a hairstylist, and I start every day with a positive attitude while I am awaiting customers. I have dedicated my life to providing and improving services. This job allows me to get closer to people. Through positive business interactions with customers, I have made many dear friends. I love diversity and enjoy knowing people from different cultural backgrounds. As we spend much time in the studio, we have been working on improving the commercial space, seeking a more contemporary style.
Why should potential customers invest in small businesses?
B & M Studio offers personalized attention, and we assist clients by appointment only. That offers us the opportunity to approach customers in a less-pressured way. Our longtime customers followed us when we opened this new location. During a regular session, we provide clients technical assistance on how to improve their beauty care, similar to a doctor’s visit. Every appointment provides a minimum of two hours of professional attention, and while our prices are not cheaper than some other hair salons in the Mission, we are accessible to those who want to receive customized attention.
Where do you see your business in five years?
The key piece for success is to get trained, and always focus on professional development. I work closely with Matrix company, where I completed a professional training, and now I can train more people. My future plans include opening a training site for other people involved in the hairstylist field. I see myself expanding my business in a location where I can support hairstylists, plus keep providing services for my loyal customers. Through the business expansion, B & M Studio can offer hiring opportunities for more professional hairstylists. I am confident that our business will grow.
What do you love about the Mission?
We both feel at home in the Mission, with people walking along the business corridor making the neighborhood vibrant. Walking around the area is like walking in your former homeland. We love the diverse population, the variety of food and the weather. There is always something for everyone in the Mission.