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Zumapoke

My wife and I overcame a lot of obstacles in fulfilling our life-long dream of opening a restaurant. To say we are grateful to own and operate our restaurant, Zumapoke & Lush Ice (Zumapoke), in downtown Davis is an understatement. We serve a California take on the traditional Hawaiian raw seafood dish, poke, as well as shave ice and our signature boozy shave ice (lush ice). There isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t thankful to the community of Davis and to our customers for supporting our business. However, we are equally grateful and thankful to the SBDC and its consultant, Scott Rogalski for helping us make our dream a reality. Scott made the difference between success and failure for our restaurant. I honestly don’t know if we would have been able to open Zumapoke, had it not been for the SBDC and Scott’s help.

Zumapoke is the sixth business I have started and mine and my wife’s fourth venture together, but we honestly thought it might have remained just a dream be fore we were supposed to open our doors.  Our contractor informed us that the cost of completing the buildout had doubled from his last projection.  The fact that we did a lot of ongoing fiscal planning (reviewed by professionals) before and during construction with a lot of capital allocated for unforeseen costs didn’t at all prepare us for that news so close to opening. Luckily, Scott Rogalski was able to help guide us through the process of getting additional funding(even more than we asked for) despite the fact that we were both working full time on our new business and were not yet paying ourselves. Traditional bank financing is next to impossible to get in a situation like that. I can tell you that even though we have that unbridled optimism that is a characteristic of all entrepreneurs, it was seriously wavering in the face of possibly declaring bankruptcy in our early thirties. But Scott helped us turn the corner and now we are enjoying a string of successes with the business. We are eternally grateful to be living our attempt at the American dream while preparing to welcome our first child into our family in a couple weeks instead of that nightmare – let me tell you!

It is surreal that our simple love of Hawaiian seafood turned into a business, after overcoming so many obstacles. There were many sleepless nights before and during our first months in business and unfortunately there will probably be many more of those to come. A new business needs the same kind of attention we will be giving our new baby but our outlook is good and we get to savor successes like selling out of food three-quarters of the days we were open in our first month. We would never have dreamed that our little restaurant would be so popular and the fact that we are already generating unsolicited interest in funding an expansion from several different investors is just crazy. It will be a while before we consider actively working on any sort of expansion but it’s extremely gratifying to have those kinds of reactions to your business, especially when you are just starting out. 

We are very fortunate to have been led to the SBDC by Scott, and we’re thankful for their partnership and belief in our dream from the very beginning! They came through when we needed them and I only wish we would have found them sooner to take advantage of what they have to offer. We appreciate their willingness to work with us, and their desire to continue to assist us in the future with our business. I highly recommend the SBDC and the work and expertise of Scott Rogalski to anyone pursuing or their own business dream! You should jump at any chance to work with such an amazing organization with so many accomplished experts. 

Mahalo, SBDC!