Maurica (Mo) Heinrich is owner of the amazing Mama Jama, a food retailer in Mendocino County serving Ukiah, Redwood Valley, Calpella, and Willits. She and her cohort of 13 just began the half-year StartUp Mendocino business management program by studying business planning. A couple of days ago, Mo met up with us to share her story and what she’s begun to learn. Here’s the story!
“I offer seasonal soups and salads, and I’m most known for my soups. My most popular is the loaded baked potato or cheddar broccoli! Since beginning the StartUp Mendocino program this month, there have been a lot of changes for me.
Another business owner and I had started escrow to buy our own kitchen, but then did inspections and pulled out. Overall I learned that you need to roll with the punches, and deal with what’s thrown at you. I’m not discouraged. It’s so nice to connect with my cohort to learn how everyone does things differently and in such a range of businesses.
What’s changed for me? Our instructor Rachel and my cohort leader Kiersten noted the business plan will tell you where you’re lacking. Right now my business is a side hustle while waiting for a commercial kitchen space. So the business plan ratcheted up my flame to get that kitchen space secured quickly. It’s been encouraging to legitimize my business. I’m looking at all kinds of avenues.
Something you might not know about me is that I graduated from culinary school. I started this business over 10 years ago and resurrected it during the pandemic. I have quite a bit of experience but it’s been a transition in business model. When I started, I was under a wholesale model. Now I have a direct to consumer model. I do all of my business banking with the Savings Bank because I wanted someone local. I’m an open book if you want to know more. I’ll just gab with anyone I talk with until they tell me to hush 🙂
My business is unique – I don’t put out a fixed product every time. Mine alternates by menu, by day, by week … It’s a creative process. You can get caught up in the minutiae of business processes so we need reminders that we are creatives and artists as well.”
The Savings Bank of Mendocino County said, “We are honored to partner with West Business Development Center since the Startup Mendocino program began. The Bank’s participation in this program exemplifies the Savings Bank’s mission to support local entrepreneurs and businesses, which are the heart of our community.”
Mo and her fellow cohort members kicked off the program at The Brambles in Anderson Valley last month. Our woman-on-the-street caught each of them in action while they intro’d who they are and what they do … watch the 1-minute video to get a taste!
What’s in store in 2022 for these people and then their families and communities as their businesses grow on an entrepreneurial journey?
Each month, the 13 will gather virtually for trainings on a range of business management topics, and we’ll share their progress, insights, highlights, and lessons learned with you.
You can learn more about the 5-month program here and see exactly who the amazing participants are along with the businesses they are growing: https://www.westcenter.org/startup-mendo
Thank you to our sponsors whose vision and passion for what they do inspires us every day: The John and Sandra Mayfield Economic Development Fund of The Community Foundation of Mendocino County, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, Adventist Health, Tri Counties Bank, LPL Financial, Charles D. “Charlie” Kelly, The Madrones, Café Beaujolais, Lia Patterson at Luxe Places International Realty, and Veikko Properties.
We’re honored to coordinate the program with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the California Office of the Small Business Advocate.
If you’re on social media, please give Mo’s story some love here on Facebook or here on Instagram! Please share with your friends on your favorite platforms and stay tuned to the #StartUpMendo hashtag for highlights on each and every amazing member of this year’s cohort. We hope the stories inspire even more entrepreneurialism in our county.