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