“We experienced an overall increase of 16% in sales in 2018 and the business continues to see growth.That's pretty strong for a business that has been around for decades, and has seen massive competition in the neighborhood,” said Hrag.

Hrag Kalebjian

BACKGROUND

Since 1965, Henry’s House of Coffee (HHC) has been a fixture in San Francisco’s Sunset District, where residents begin their mornings with a fresh pastry and a cup of coffee.

Henry Kalebjian, the founder of HHC, learned the art of coffee roasting from his father in Lebanon at age 12. Henry’s son, Hrag Kalebjian, left a corporate job to work with his father in 2013.

Considered a “Master Roaster” by the industry, the father-son team owns the proprietary roasting process that sets Henry’s House of Coffee apart from other coffee houses in the Bay Area.  Henry personally roasts and blends coffee six days a week.

CHALLENGES

After a recent renovation, the interior of HHC looks new, bright and inviting. However, the exterior signage was old and outdated, making it less appealing from the outside and harder to attract new customers.

HHC wanted to tap a competitive city grant SF Shines for its signage improvement project but had no expertise and time to put together a comprehensive grant application.

ACTIONS

HHC approached SBDC for assistance with the grant application.

SBDC advisor Jim Nguyen helped review the client’s financial information, prepare a financial assessment on the business’s long-term sustainability, and put together a competitive application.  

RESULTS

HHC was selected to receive a $11,000 grant from SF Shines to cover the cost of a new storefront signage.

Compared to the old one, the new signage is more visible, inviting, and weather-resistant.

The owners are very happy to see the change and have committed to make more owners’ investments. Hrag has expressed the interest in setting up outside seating for patrons to enjoy their coffee.

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.