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Believe in What You’re Doing

What happens when you and your family own a small restaurant, you’re working hard to make a living, and suddenly your future is in jeopardy?

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Norwood Clark Jr. and his family worked for decades to build a successful, New Orleans-style restaurant in Marina del Rey, California. They pride themselves on providing top notch service and preparing delicious, Southern-style food at affordable prices. When you walk in as a guest at Uncle Darrow’s and experience their delicious food and hospitality, you will walk out feeling more like a member of their family.

It is never easy running a small business, but it gets even tougher when the rent suddenly increases and you’re looking for a new location. Rents are notoriously high in Southern California, and especially near the beach. Norwood had to move his restaurant to a new community due to a substantial rent increase. In short order, his once successful restaurant was closing and his family’s future became uncertain. He knew that this move would bring new challenges: moving costs, marketing, training, advertising, remodeling. Where could he go to get the guidance he needed to successfully open his restaurant in a new location and keep it running and profitable?

Luckily, a solution was found nearby through a program offered by Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California Region in partnership with the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC). These two organizations are collaborating to promote small business growth in economically challenged urban areas of Los Angeles as part of Kaiser Permanente’s upstream community health improvement strategy-CULTIVATE.

There are many disturbing correlations between economic disparities and health risk/disparities. Communities are working to positively impact health “upstream” by enhancing social, economic, educational and environmental conditions, especially in those communities where there are disparities in health. It requires creative collaborations and collective action with other organizations, such as the one between Kaiser Permanente and ICIC, to improve the health of our communities.

Norwood found the assistance he was looking for in ICIC - an organization that helps local small businesses build their capacity to grow and compete through the Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program. The program positions small businesses for immediate and long term growth through executive education, personalized business coaching, networking and access to growth capital. He received training, education and mentorship, all at no charge, from business professionals and educators.

The personal training Norwood received from the ICCC provided him with the knowledge, support, and skills he needed to rebuild his once bustling restaurant in Marina del Rey into a new neighborhood favorite in Carson. Norwood and his family are again serving their happy customers and positioned for continued growth, prosperity and profit.

Visit the ICCC website to learn more about their programs.