Updated: Oct 31, 2018
Welcome to Claremont, a vibrant city which embraces diversity, entrepreneurship and extraordinary experiences! It sits at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, east of Downtown Los Angeles; its tree-lined streets stacked with restaurants, shops, services and businesses unique only to Claremont. Today, we kick off Real Business, Extraordinary People by introducing you to Brian Ofstedahl, Owner of Amelie, Jolene Gonzalez, Owner of Bert & Rocky's Cream Co., Raul Cruz, Owner of Claremont Escrow, Olga Fernandez, Owner of Claremont Headstones, Caskets & Urns and Doris Rodriguez, Owner of Tintura Salon.
Brian Ofstedahl, Owner of Amelie
When and what inspired you open your business? Amelie opened 15 years ago, and I bought it 3 years ago, when my friend Sydney Blanton passed away from cancer. What inspired me to start this business was to keep Sydney's passion and spirit alive. I wanted to provide the same level of service her customers experienced. What do you love most about being a part of the Claremont Village? Being a part of an amazing community, there is so much The Claremont Village offers and I am proud to be a part of of it. Now, tell us what your boutique offers. Amelie carries contemporary women's fashion apparel, shoes, jewelry, body care, candles and more. We carry brands like Sage the Label, Amuse Society, Voluspa, Bishop and Young and Show Me Your Mumu.
Being a small business owner is tough, what are the challenges you face? Brick and mortar locations are going against larger e-commerce sites. We are always working to show that there is no substitute for personalized and knowledgeable customer service. What do you love most about being a small business owner? Being a part of a community that has so much to offer is the best feeling. At Amelie, we love meeting new people and finding more ways to exceed our customer expectations.
Jolene Gonzalez, Owner of Bert & Rocky's Cream Co
Bert & Rocky's was founded in 1989 by Roy (Rocky) and Roberta (Bert) in Upland, CA. The Hunter's had been long time fans of their delectable homemade ice cream. When the opportunity presented itself to purchase the business, there was little hesitation. In 1998, Bert and Rocky's longest employee, Jolene Gonzalez, became part of the Bert and Rocky's family by purchasing the business.
Bert & Rocky's offers over 200 flavors like Chocolate Malt Crunch, Bullchip, Caramel Cashew and Peppermint Stick and treats like caramel covered apples, fudge, chocolate covered everything and bark. At any point in time, you can find Jolene and the Bert and Rocky's team at community events, enhancing the festivities by serving the sweetest ice cream.
Raul Cruz, Owner of Claremont Escrow
When and why did you open Claremont Escrow? In Fall of 2004 (14 years ago!) Having already worked a number or years as a real estate investor, I saw an opportunity to provide a level of service that I, myself, was not receiving. I have always been passionate about providing superior customer service and believed that I had an opportunity to bring this to the escrow industry. You're such a huge supporter of the Claremont Village, what do you love most about being a part of the Claremont Village? I love the tight knit community feeling that comes with the culture in the Claremont Village. It’s great to see an area so dedicated and in the pursuit of building up one another.
The escrow industry must be tough, we want to know, what challenges do you face as a small business owner? Finding key, quality people has definitely been a task. I have, however, been fortunate to have found the team I currently have. But there's always a bigger reward. What do you love most about being a small business owner? Being able to have a small team has allowed for us to get to know one another on a unique level. In essence, we have become an extended family to each other.
Address: 405 W. Foothill Blvd. Suite 101
Olga Fernandez, Owner of Claremont Headstones, Caskets & Urns
How long have you been in business? I opened in 2000, 18 years ago, in Glendora, Ca then made the move to Claremont. Why "underground furniture?" I personally underwent the high cost of funeral expenses and realized that when I helped bury 3 loved ones in one year. So, you've been in the Claremont Village, what do you love most about it? I love the small town feeling of the village while enjoying our unique businesses, restaurants, farmers market and array of special events throughout the year! The funeral business is such a unique one, what do you offer to your clients? As a funeral retail store owner, I specialize in helping design monuments at Oak Park Cemetery, here in Claremont. I do boulder, granite and bronze headstones along with family estates.
What are the challenges you face by being in the funeral industry? As a small business, the challenge is the always changing industry. We're actively keeping up with the larger corporation owned mortuaries and cemeteries, the constant changing rules and regulations and of course the price changing costs that go up every year! Though there are challenges, the rewards are much greater, what do you love most about being a small business owner? What I love most about being a small business owner after 18 years are my families that I help by saving them thousands of dollars on their funeral expenses. I enjoy the flexibility of having my own company. As a single mother, it's important to have that. I love to volunteer, give back to the community and learn something new every day.
Address: 427 Yale Ave. (626) 833-9188
Doris Rodriguez, Owner of Tintura Salon
When and what inspired you to open Tintura Salon? For years I’ve managed some very successful salons and helped to build those businesses. I wanted to create an environment and culture of a place with friendly, talented people that would feel like a place like home. In 2010, I opened Tintura Salon. Your salon is so cozy, what do you love most about being a part of the Claremont Village? Claremont Village has a very involved community of people that support each other and have a common goal to work together to better the city and help businesses grow. What services does Tintura offer and keep you salon smelling so good? We offer hair color, hair cuts, hair treatments and Ouidad hair cuts. We like to carry more natural products that are either plant or fruit based with essential oils and Peta certified.I also carry natural deodorant, soaps and lip balms. No artificial or unhealthy ingredients.
What challenges do you have as a small business owner? Trying to keep the salon busier during slow summer season, June – August. Parking is also a challenge! What do you love most about being a small business owner? Freedom to create, to be involved with people on a more personal basis and meeting great people. Do you have some words of wisdom for our readers? Success means different things to different people. To me doing what I love and being able to share and give back to others. To create an environment I am happy in daily. Growing as a business is success to me.
Address: 121 Harvard Ave.