Ojai's Azu Restaurant Owner Receives Small Business Award for District 37

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Small Business
Ventura County


Camarillo - California - US


CAMARILLO, Calif. - July 30, 2018 - PRLog -- The co-owner of popular Ojai eatery, Azu Restaurant & Bar (http://www.azuojai.com/), located in downtown Ojai, has been awarded the California State Legislature's Small Business Award for District 37 at an awards ceremony held in Sacramento. Nominated by Assemblywoman Monique Limon (https://a37.asmdc.org/), the restaurant's co-owner, Elizabeth Haffner, was honored for her leadership in connecting the Ojai business community with the Economic Development Collaborative's Small Business Development Center (http://edc-vc.com/tools-for-business-success/)to access disaster funds and relief services immediately after the Thomas Fire, and for long-term recovery assistance (http://edc-vc.com/disaster-recovery-services/). Attending the event with Assemblywoman Limon and Haffner were Azu restaurant co-owner Laurel Moore, EDC's Clare Briglio, SBDC's Ray Bowman and Alondra Gayton.

"Liz emerged as a community leader and took charge at a time when no one knew what to do," said Briglio, EDC's director of communications. "She set up ongoing meetings to help engage the business community of Ojai during the disaster and established early collaboration with EDC to provide immediate intervention. The results of that effort are visible today as local businesses are mapping out a future."

EDC's Small Business Development Center has been able to help more than 25 Ojai businesses find a path to recovery, assisting them with re-organizing their businesses and staying engaged with each business so they can access capital for recovery. Throughout the process, Haffner remained an active advocate for partnership between the Ojai community and EDC to help more brick-and-mortar stores transition out of disaster recovery and into future business development.

Haffner became co-owner of Azu Restaurant in 2000 when she and Moore started the popular Mediterranean dining spot focused on unique dishes from locally-sourced, organic ingredients. "Azu is a labor of love," said Haffner. "When the fire came through, it was heart-breaking. I couldn't sit by and watch our beloved downtown disappear. I started contacting every available resource and thankfully found the SBDC. It's been such a relief to have their guidance during this difficult recovery."

EDC continues to assist businesses located in areas declared a disaster due to the Thomas Fire and subsequent mudslides. Business owners whose sales were impacted by the fires can submit loan applications through October 15, 2018.Additional business disaster recovery services can be found online at http://edc-vc.com/disaster-recovery-services or on the "Business Recovery" link on the home page of http://venturacountyrecovers.org/. For assistance, contact EDC's Services Coordinator Alondra Gaytan at (805) 409-9159.

The SBDC is funded by the SBA and provides professional business assistance at no cost to businesses. Participating businesses are required to follow a well-defined scope of work and report their economic successes. These SBA milestones are defined as job creation, increase in sales, capital investment, job retention and business start-ups.

EDC is a private, nonprofit organization that serves as a business-to-government liaison to assist businesses in Ventura and Santa Barbara County by offering programs that enhance the economic vitality of the region. For more information about the Small Business Development Center and loan, manufacturing and international trade programs, contact Bruce Stenslie at 805-384-1800 ext. 24, or bruce.stenslie@edc-vc.com. Or visit www.edc-vc.com.

Bruce Stenslie
Source:Economic Development Collaborative
Tags:Award, Small Business, Ventura County
Location:Camarillo - California - United States
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