San Jose Kitchen Rental, San Jose
San Jose Kitchen Rental, LLC (SJKR) is a commercial kitchen facility located in San Jose’s enterprise zone that opened in March 2010. Owner, Annette Galetti, has over 20 years of professional baking experience and knew first-hand that a large, untapped market existed for a premium commercial kitchen. It is the first in Silicon Valley to offer three individual kitchens plus almost 1000 square feet of preparation area as well. The kitchens and prep areas are available 24/7 and provide a unique, low-cost alternative for start-up caterers and bakers as SJKR is the only commercial kitchen in the region that does not require a monthly minimum payment.
SJKR has developed strategic alliances with San Jose’s Health Department Referral list, Culinary Institutes, Cake Clubs, Cake Decorating Businesses, Farmers Market Associations and cooking professionals in the area.
Remodeling began almost a year before opening and about half-way through the owners found structural problems that pushed the leasehold improvements cost far beyond what they had in their budget. They had taken the project as far as their savings would allow on their own and were faced with getting a loan or partner or walking away from the business. Inquiries to several banks and community lenders had put them in familiar company with so many other start-ups that simply could not find a lender no matter how sound the business fundamentals.
Annette Galetti met with SVSBDC Business Advisor Karioki Uhuru in November 2009 regarding the remaining funding needed to bring SJKR up to code. Mr. Uhuru reviewed the owners’ business plan, finances, and remodeling budget to help map out a strategy for meeting the unforeseen capital needs. The owner clearly possessed the proper background and desire to be a successful business owner but was not likely to be approved for a commercial loan. The business advisor and Mrs. Galetti immediately moved to pursue private investment. Based on the pro forma financial projections, thresholds were developed that established attractive interest rates or dividends that could be offered to private investors that would not jeopardize the company’s long-term viability.
Within weeks of meeting with the SV SBDC Business Advisor, Mrs. Galetti was able to meet with a pre-screened investor who was interested in partnering with the Galettis to bring SJKR through its final hurdle with a $40,000 investment. Mr. Uhuru remained available throughout the last stage of improvements to support Mrs. Galetti as she coordinated with the property owner, vendors, and City of San Jose representatives to ensure that costs did not exceed the revised budget.
“I can't thank Mr. Uhuru enough. Karioki, I truly consider him a friend, hold him truly responsible for guiding me through some of the toughest time of this business venture and making my dream of having a commercial kitchen facility a reality. He openly and generously shared so much knowledge, time, ideas, different perspectives and potential concerns that really put in perspective what is needed to make a great business successful. I know baking, but Karioki helped tremendously in other areas of business that I was not very well versed in such as meeting with county representatives, helping find tax benefits that may help my business, mediator in landlord meetings, attorneys referrals, permits applications, attending permit reviews and inspections. I truly feel he has gone beyond my expectations of what a mentor with the SVSBDC Business Development center has to offer our great city of San Jose. The SVSBDC is lucky to have him. I'm blessed to have him mentoring me and should all other future business owners in San Jose.”