Thanks to your submissions, the final entrepreneurs have been chosen.Dustin Haarstad, Ty Hauter, Matt Clifford, Jon Mangini, and Lynelle Lynch will be the 5 entrepreneurs you have voted into the pages of the next issue of Locale Magazine San Diego! Each will be interviewed and photographed for a feature in the next issue. Dustin Haarstad of Blind Tiger Cocktail Co. got the most votes, so he has landed a spot on “America’s Entrepreneurs”, the KDOC thirty-minute TV show about the struggles, the dreams, the fears and the triumphs that our established, famous and even new entrepreneurs experience when they chase their wildest dreams.
Read below about the 5 winners as well as the 5 runners up.
Dustin Haarstad – Blind Tiger Cocktail Co.
Dustin is an amazing entrepreneur and one of the best world class mixologists in San Diego. Dustin has worked hard to establish his company. He moved down to San Diego a few years ago and started with literally nothing, and now he runs Blind Tiger Cocktail Co. with his business partner Adam Stemmler, and they have had a significant impact on improving the drink scene in San Diego. His company works in educating bartenders around the US with the United States Bartender Guild.
David & Anna Gamboa – A7D Creative Group
David and Anna started their Graphic Design Business 9 years ago in their dining room, after leaving Mesa Distributing INC.,.
David coming from a sales background in the beer industry and Anna’s in graphic design, they quickly found their niche designing & marketing for the beverage and restaurant industry.
7 years ago, they opened their first office in North Park, and have been growing ever since. A7D Creative Group now has a team of 9 young, hip and creative people, along with a few office dogs! And the creative team behind many of your favorite brands, including local San Diego restaurants & taverns.
Along with their growth, they stand committed to the growth of the vibrant North Park community that they love so much. For them its more than merely owning a business, its supporting the growth of their team, their surrounding businesses and showing pride in helping promote and build their North Park community.
Matthew Mulvihill – Pacific Beach Peanut Butter
As a young college graduate Matthew set out on his own to start up a business that few would attempt. His product is incredible, and just as important he cares about his community. Pacific Beach Peanut Butter is an amazing story and the owner Matthew is a perfect entrepreneurial spirit to go along with it.
He works his butt off at local farmer’s markets in Hillcrest and Little Italy as well as other places. In a short time his peanut butter has gotten into Whole Foods and of course it’s an amazingly delicious, healthy product. If you’re looking for something high quality in a very niche market then this is it. With an outstanding array of different flavors to choose from you can never get tired of this guy’s product or the service he provides.
Lynelle Lynch – Bellus Academy
Bellus Academy president and owner Lynelle Lynch is not the average lady who lunches. She runs Bellus Academy’s three campuses in San Diego along with Beauty Changes Lives, a non-profit organization she created to ensure that the country’s fastest growing profession stays that way. Bellus Academy, recent host to the America’s Next Top Model casting call, provides career training in the beauty and wellness industries. Lynelle Lynch, president of Bellus Academy and a Rancho Santa Fe resident, recently secured a $1.5 million scholarship fund from Procter & Gamble, to provide scholarships to deserving students. She is the founding president for a new national nonprofit, Beauty Changes Lives, whose aim is to raise the awareness of careers in the beauty and wellness fields. Lynelle Lynch’s foray into the professional beauty arena was by chance. In fact, after college, her passion for fashion led her to a 15-year career with Saks Fifth Avenue where she served as general manager for multiple stores across Southern California. After marrying her husband, who among his 26 business owned three beauty schools, Lynch found herself suddenly taking over Bellus Academy, when the school’s manager of 30 years passed away. Lynch took over the post of president and owner of the academy and hasn’t looked back since. Bellus Academy has three locations in Southern California and one in Manhattan, Kansas. Her goal: to offer advanced education unprecedented in beauty-school education and career development.
Eric Lingenfelder – Verant Group
Eric Lingenfelder is San Diego’s finest stock. As an entrepreneur and part of the Verant Group, he’s part of the team that brought us barleymash, the Gaslamp’s latest hot spot. This “local boy done good” bussed and waited tables to pay for his education at San Diego State University. While bartending at PB’s mainstay, Tavern at the Beach, he developed an affinity for the restaurant biz. Fast forward to current day and barleymash is the eighth restaurant Lingenfelder has opened with the Verant Group. As a partner of The Verant Group with Joe Vaught and Mark Cirillo , a San Diego-based restaurant and bar organization, Eric Lingenfelder can proudly say he is living up to his dream. He has always wanted to build something special and now he can truly say that he has. He has found a way to pass along his enthusiasm for life to not only his customers, but his employees as well. Eric is involved with every aspect of building a successful business whether it’s evaluating a location for development or welcoming patrons to one of his establishments. Becoming integrated within the community has always been very important to Eric. He was the past president of the Pacific Beach Business Improvement District and member of the Hospitality Task Force. Eric has also sat on the board of directors for jeans 4 justice a non-profit, as well as participated in San Diego’s Community Court.
Matt Clifford – TEDx San Diego & Barnana
Matt is an incredibly ambitious and highly motivated entrepreneur. His background is in technology having worked as VP for a La Jolla technology firm, Bump.com. Matt is the the program director TEDx La Jolla and on the curation committee for TEDx San Diego. Recently Matt made a huge career move to become one of the founding partners of company called Barnana, which is a San Diego-Based natural snacks company with organic banana farms in South America. They are purveyors of organic Banana snacks and have scaled nationwide with major chains such as Wholefoods and Sprouts, Matt has helped put together the strongest board for any company in San Diego and as an award winning triathlete. He is a tireless advocate of natural health who occasionally breaks for 35 mile running competitions. Matt is also a founding member of a very small but extremely tight knit group of San Diego entrepreneurs called Junto that literally meets every Friday to help each of the members grow his or her company and to build and improve each others character based on the principles of Ben Franklin. Matt recently took a board position with the La Jolla, Chamber of Commerce and is currently sitting on a crucial team for community redevelopment with people twice his age.
Jenny Amaraneni, Dana Holliday & Craig Stern – SOLO Eyewear
“Every company needs a reason they exist—a bigger purpose than just making money,” says Amaraneni, CEO of SOLO Eyewear, which donates a pair of eyeglasses and portion of a cataract surgery to those in need for every purchase made. Stern is chief marketing officer, and together, these SDSU grads started their sunglass company with a $1,000 loan from Amaraneni’s little brother. Later, a $30,000 Kickstarter campaign helped them take it to the next level. Today they’ve provided more than 2,250 eyeglasses and 150 cataract surgeries to people in need.
Taylor Chaput – Paddle Board Bliss
As a young entrepreneur, Taylor embodies the San Diego lifestyle from paddle surfing and teaching yoga to hanging out with her golden retriever on the beach. She founded Paddle Board Bliss a couple years ago in Laguna Beach and expanded to San Diego last summer. Launching out of Paradise Point Resort and Spa, Bliss offers exciting stand up paddle lessons and relaxing Paddle Board Yoga. The classes are so unique and fun that both tourists and locals love them. Don’t let Taylor’s laid back, easy going nature fool you, she’s a determined entrepreneur that wants to take paddle yoga up and down the coast and across the world. In a couple weeks, Paddle Board Bliss is embarking on its first paddle yoga retreat to Costa Rica!
Ty Hauter – Good Time Design
Ty Hauter started as a doorman at Limelight and worked his way up in the hospitality industry, bartending and managing multiple clubs in Chicago before moving to San Diego in1990. With more than 600+ employees and $30 million dollars in projects and operations just in 2012, Ty Hauter has made a name for himself here, most notably in the community of East Village. His company Good Time Design started with The Double Deuce, Tipsy Crow and former Whiskey Girl and has rapidly grown to own and operate 12 restaurants and bars in the city. Ty’s most recent project is the creation of San Diego’s “Entertainment Alley” a “one-stop shop” next to Petco with diverse restaurants, bars and nightclubs including Bub’s at the Ballpark, The Blind Burro, Cat Eye Club, Lucky’s Lunch Counter, Block No. 16 Union & Spirits and the soon to open Moonshine Flats. Committed to creating a strong community in East Village, Ty and GTD were awarded the East Village Association’s BID Business of the Year award. This year, GTD will be partnering with a local school to implement a fun after school program for kids in need. In 2014, to further the development of East Village, Ty will open up a venue on the corner of 12th and J, with a concept that remains under wraps for now.
Jon Mangini – GANG Kitchen, BASIC Urban Kitchen + Bar, & URBN Coal Fired Pizza
Jon Mangini of GANG Kitchen, BASIC Urban Kitchen + Bar, and URBN Coal Fired Pizza is one of San Diego’s most successful hospitality industry veterans. Jon found small-business success with his first casual eatery back in 2006 by keeping it as “BASIC”, as the name suggests, as possible. During a time when East Village was more or less a seedy, not so desirable culinary destination, Mangini saw a window of opportunity, with the addition of the new ballpark downtown, and pushed the boundaries in opening his bare bones concept. In its seventh year of business the restaurant has shown no signs of slowing down, revenue has grown from $1.8 to $5 Million. In response to this success, Mangini launched URBN Coal Fired Pizza, a spin-off BASIC’s casual eatery in the Vista neighborhood of San Diego in 2008. In 2010 Mangini launched another location of URBN in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood to a tremendous response. Mangini plans to open 15-20 more spots along the West coast in the coming years ahead.
This article is brought to you by one of the many talented writers associated with Locale Magazine! We are a group of locals (whether born and raised or transplanted) who love this county we now call home!