L.A. stories of inspiration and success

L.A. stories of inspiration and success

Olga Gomez, owner of Daisy’s Beauty Salon in South Los Angeles
The Pico-Union/Westlake Business Source Center (BSC) recently helped Olga Gomez, owner of Daisy’s Beauty Salon, successfully obtain a City of Los Angeles Microenterprise Recovery Grant to help sustain her business.

Olga holds both a cosmetology and barber license. After graduating from cosmetology school, she knew she wanted to start her own business. Olga immigrated to the United States from Guatemala when she was 15 years old. She was proud to be a self-made business owner who operated her salon in South Los Angeles for more than 20 years without any assistance. Then COVID-19 halted the economy and the Stay-at-Home Order mandated that all beauty salons close for 16 months from March 9, 2020, to June 2021, or be forced to pay heavy fines.

For the first time since she started the business, Olga knew that she needed to ask for help. “There was a point that I was in front of the business and asking myself if I should close the business. I didn’t want to close my business. I love my business.”

In August 2021, her entrepreneurial spirit prompted her to learn about publicity, which led her to Ivan Vazquez, a Business/Loan Counselor at the Pico-Union/Westlake BSC. Ivan provided Olga with information on various COVID-19 disaster relief financial assistance programs, then helped her apply for any programs for which she was eligible, including the City of Los Angeles Microenterprise Grant Program.

“Ivan helped me so much. He was there when I needed him the most. Helping me complete the application allowed me to receive the funds to help pay for the commercial rent of my business.”

Olga’s landlord considered her efforts and her 20-year tenancy and agreed to accept the grant funds. They also agreed that Olga’s remaining balance would be paid in small, monthly increments until her commercial rent is current. Olga said she is grateful for the help she received from her counselor and was excited to learn about all the resources provided at the LA BusinessSource Centers.

The Pico-Union/Westlake BSC will continue to assist Olga with broadening her services to include eyelash extensions, manicures and pedicures, and make-up services. She said she would also like to start a cosmetology school to assist immigrants who have the same passion for cosmetology.

Daisy’s Beauty Salon is located in LA City Council District 9.

EWDD’s BusinessSource Centers offer resources to microenterprises, small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in the City of Los Angeles. These efforts work to revitalize the local economy by helping business owners launch viable businesses, grow revenue streams, and stabilize and create jobs. Many residents of the City of Los Angeles have also been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Many are faced with job loss or are struggling to keep their businesses operational. EWDD is diligently working to provide crucial services, grants and programs. Visit our Recovery Resources and Business Services pages to find a program that fits your needs. We're here to help.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of February 27, 2023. Read this issue and more.