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After five years, the entrepreneurial spirit runs deep
Peter Granoff has expanded his wine bar to a second location, in downtown Napa, Calif. His Oxbow Wine Merchant & Wine Bar also includes a cheese merchant with high-end, artisanal products. Together with the original Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant & Wine Bar in San Francisco, Granoff and his partners have about a dozen full-time employees. He expects the Oxbow location, which opened in February 2008, to be profitable by yearend.
Pharmacopia may have finally gotten its big break. Earlier this year, Lisa Levin, founder of the natural body care company, partnered with Hunter Amenities, which provides personal care products for the hotel industry. The company, based in San Rafael, Calif., is also pursuing a distribution deal with Sephora in Europe and Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada. Pharmacopia still has less than $1 million in sales, but Levin expects the business to grow to $10 million in the next three to five years.
In 2008, Andrew Beebe, founder of solar power company Energy Innovations in Pasadena, Calif., sold his company to Suntech Power, one of the largest solar companies in the world. Today, he runs a portion of the U.S. division of Suntech's business, which has some 9,000 employees globally. "It was always our goal to have a massive impact on the world of solar," says Beebe. "What better way to change the world than doing it from a leadership role in one of the biggest companies in your field? This is exactly where I want to be."
Jonathan Roosevelt is still in the fitness business. He is rebranding his fitness centers in the Northeast into a new concept called Healthy Fit. And he now has some serious muscle behind his $2 million, 60-employee business—Roosevelt brought in Marc Tascher, co-founder of Town Sport International, as an investor and business partner. Roosevelt thinks he can start growing his business aggressively in the next 12 months, with clusters of clubs opening in New York and Boston.
YOU MON TSANG
You Mon Tsang is on to his third company, Burlingame (Calif.)-based Boxxet, which aggregates Web sites, blogs, and videos for enthusiasts on myriad topics. He still sits on the board of Biz360, the company he founded in 1999 and left when he started his new business in 2007. "I'm an entrepreneur at heart. I was with Biz360 for a while, and it was time for me to move on to my next venture," he says.
Laurice Rahmé's Bond No. 9 is still a small perfume brand in the fragrance industry. But with $30 million in sales and 120 employees, it's a clear success. The New York company sells its fragrances in 35 markets and plans to open in five new markets this year, including India and China.
Varsha Rao was selling her Zoelle jewelry in about 100 stores when she decided to go back to corporate life. She spent four years with Gap Inc., eventually leading a team of 90 people as vice-president and general manager of Oldnavy.com. Today, she has taken on an intrapreneur role as chief executive of Singapore-based SingTel Digital Media, which she joined in August 2008. She's responsible for building the digital business of the $45 billion parent company SingTel, with 20 employees reporting to her. Says Rao: "It definitely feels like a startup, with the 18-hour days and trying to make every penny count."
Return to the BWSmallBiz June/July 2009 Table of Contents