Client Success Stories

OLYMPIA, Wash.—If only owning a day spa were as restful as being a patron at one. When clients walk into Ballaura Wellness Spa in Olympia, they are greeted by the warm, modern farmhouse look of whitewashed brick and shiplap walls, wood flooring, and blue and pink upholstered furniture. The peaceful, serene feeling created by the … Read more

Grandview, Wash.—David Ruelas was working in agricultural fields near his home in Sunnyside, following in the footsteps of his parents and older brother, when a door opened and he became an apprentice to a diesel mechanic in Yakima. Within a year, at age 21, he was a lead mechanic at the shop. The 45-minute drive … Read more

BELLINGHAM, Wash.—When cases of COVID-19 started emerging in the United States, Washington state was the epicenter of the emerging public health and economic disaster. When Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued his Stay Home, Stay Safe order in mid-March, Andi Vann, owner of Pure Bliss Desserts, was alarmed, but not panicked. February had been their biggest … Read more

EDMONDS, Wash. — Traveling abroad six years ago, Kris and Kali Kelnero encountered canned cocktails and thought, “we could do that.” After years of work and planning, the couple opened Kelnero cocktail bar in downtown Edmonds in February 2019 and, eight months later, contacted business advisor Janet Toth for help with their next step: Kelnero … Read more

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — Running an adult family home in South King County is a long way from handling HR issues at the largest bank in Kenya, but Catherine Kamau says the StartZone program at Highline College helped her realize an opportunity of a lifetime: owning her own business. StartZone helps South King County residents … Read more

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Nurturing young children and their community of families has been a calling for Melissa Gillaspy since at least 2008, when she and her husband, Jacob, “fell in love with and remodeled” a charming building in a pastoral setting into Jack and Jill’s House Preschool. But when the Covid-19 pandemic closed the school … Read more

SEATTLE, Wash. – Fragrance is a journey for perfumer Molly Ray – a highly personalized itinerary begun in her grandparents’ home before meandering the world, lingering in hotels and airports and, now, alighting in a prestigious retail space in downtown Seattle’s Pacific Place. Her business, Molly Ray Parfums, will open the new boutique Nov. 1 … Read more

KENT, Wash.—If a serial entrepreneur is someone who hops from business to business, what do you call someone who lands on an idea while still in middle school, keeps it going through high school and college, and then puts his degree to work building it into a profitable business that provides for him and his … Read more