three generations of the Asapahu family, Grandmother, mother and daughter, pose in the dining room of their family restaurant, Ayara Thai
The South Los Angeles BusinessSource Center (BSC) assisted entrepreneur Anna, Andy and Vanda Asapahu, owners of the Ayara Thai restaurant near LAX, helping them review financials to expand the establishment and hire up to 20 new employees.

Anna and Andy Asapahu opened Ayara Thai in 2004, specializing in dishes that were deeply rooted in their family lineage.

After a career in Public Health, their daughter Vanda returned to Los Angeles in 2010 to assist her parents with their then struggling business.

Vanda faced the challenges of second generation entrepreneurs, including the struggles of succession and occasional push back from her parents.

“When I did my first financial analysis I realized they had only raised their prices 50 cents over a seven year period, I couldn’t figure out how they were sustaining themselves,” she said.

Vanda turned to the South Los Angeles BSC, operated by EWDD partner VSEDC. She enrolled in the BusinessSource program in 2015 where she attended several business management related workshops, along with business coaching.

With assistance from the South LA BSC, Vanda met with a lender and obtained a substantial SBA construction loan that allowed her to hire a public relations firm to help with branding and marketing. The loan also allowed her to work on the evolution of her menu and ethical ingredient sourcing.

Ayara Thai is now expanding to double its size and is looking to obtain a full liquor license. The expansion also includes hiring up to 20 more employees.


EWDD’s BusinessSource and WorkSource Centers offer a variety of Business Services, including several Financial and Development Incentive Programs and a Small Business Loan Program. Learn how EWDD can help.



This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of November 12, 2018. Read this issue and more.