During his time in the United States military, Reggie Cua discovered the many tastes and textures of coffee. His travels during deployment brought him to coffee shops and cafés around the world. He was inspired, and knew he would someday own a coffee shop of his own.
After returning home, Reggie started working to make his dreams a reality, saving money and envisioning the shop with plans, ideas, and sketches. He found the perfect location in Northridge for his new shop, Café Aficionado, and decided he wanted help with business planning, structuring, and the lease negotiations. In 2017, he discovered VEDC through the Los Angeles Great Streets Great Business program and met Sylvia Perez and the rest of the team.
The VEDC’s West Valley BusinessSource Center assisted Reggie in obtaining his business license and introduced him to Celeste Young-Ramos, the VEDC Women Business Center’s Restaurant Resource Council leader and local restaurant consultant, who helped with setting prices, staff training, inventory, and more. Additionally, through educational support and 1-on-1 investment, the café was able to secure capital from a larger banking institution and begin building business credit early. “I relied heavily on VEDC during the entire process,” Reggie mentioned in a follow-up conversation.
It all culminated with an incredible grand opening on June 29th, 2018, where Reggie was recognized by the California Legislature Assembly, the City of Los Angeles, Councilmember Englander’s office, and VEDC as a local community development advocate. Café Aficionado has already created 6 new jobs in Northridge, with plans to hire more neighborhood members. The shop brews coffee with a unique process of machines and measurements, and they sell beans and merchandise online and in-store.
Reggie Cua is an incredible example of small business empowerment, and through his work in the veteran, San Fernando Valley, and entrepreneur communities, he is helping build a stronger, more sustainable economy.