(left) David Barlavi, owner of Cell Funds
The Central/West BusinessSource Center helped Daniel Barlavi, owner of mobile phone recycling company Cell Funds, obtain funding from several COVID-19 financial assistance programs, allowing him to keep his business open and save six jobs.

Established in 2006 in Sherman Oaks, Cell Funds specializes in recycling, refurbishing, and reselling used cell phones and other small electronics. The business provides individuals and organizations an eco-friendly opportunity to earn cash for their recycling efforts and safeguard the environment for future generations.

Helping Small Business Recover From COVID

Cell Funds has a retail store, a wholesale distribution channel, along with an online presence on eBay and Amazon. While the company demonstrated strong growth in the past, the business has experienced a 40 percent decline in total revenue since the initial Safer At Home orders in March 2020.

During COVID-19, the Cell Funds experienced a more than 60 percent drop in retail sales, their main revenue stream, and a 25 percent decline in their wholesale business. Their retail store also closed several times due to the lockdowns and to protect their employees’ safety.

With assistance from Business Loan Officer Phuong Le, Daniel applied for several pandemic financial relief programs. The BSC provided Daniel with extensive technical assistance to prepare applications and successfully obtain loans from the California Rebuilding Fund and the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Currently, Cell Funds is experiencing sales growth after a year of enormous challenges. The company recently entered into a new partnership with Amazon Hub to increase their online presence and drive more clients to their door. Daniel said he is very satisfied with the quality assistance he received from the Central/West BSC and has referred several business clients to Phuong, confident they will receive the same helpful support.

Phuong continues to work with Daniel by providing guidance on how to grow his company by improving his business portfolio, including cash flow and documentation management. Cell Funds is on the road to economic recovery and now needs to hire two new employees. Phuong referred Daniel to Pico-Union/Downtown LA WorkSource Center to find the right candidates to fill his open positions.

EWDD partner Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE) operates both the Central/West BusinessSource Center and Pico-Union/DTLA WorkSource Center. Cell Funds is located in LA City Council District 4.

EWDD’s BusinessSource and WorkSource Centers offer a variety of Business Services, including several Financial Programs and Development Incentives for businesses of all sizes. Learn how EWDD can help.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of July 26, 2021. Read this issue and more.