Owner: Carolina Vallejo
Business: Copy Central Mission
Address: 3181 Mission St.
Type: Mailing/Printing Service
What gave you the idea to start your own business?
The idea about owning my own business happened after the former owner of Copy Central Mission reached out to me and offered me the business for sale. I had worked here in the past, back when I was in high school. After speaking with my older siblings, I decided to buy the business … and that’s how everything started.
What has your experience been opening a business within the Mission District? I had lived in the Mission for 15 years. I was born here in San Francisco. This is home. It is a very special feeling to own my business in the Mission. I get to help community, my neighbors. Copy Central Mission had been open for over 20 years when I took over. It hasn’t been easy especially now with the problem of rent increase/control.
How does your business/business idea relate to your life?
Owning a business is very rewarding being a young, Mexican-American female entrepreneur. I get to make my workplace my home by playing music I enjoy, having art in the walls, meeting new people and making new friends. I also feel very proud of myself. I was only 22 years old when I became an entrepreneur, coming from a family that didn’t have much. I was raised by my oldest sister, who I am sure feels very proud of me. I am very close to my nieces. I feel that is very important to have women role models in our lives. I try to motivate them to keep studying, so they can have a good future so one day and they can be role models, too.
Why should potential customers invest in small businesses?
Customers should invest in small businesses and #shopsmall because we are the fabric that keeps the community together. I work with many elderly people, schools, teacher, students and artists. Small businesses care about their customers — my customers motivate me to do better and keep my business open. I know that if my business weren’t here it would be very difficult for my customers to find the personal attention and great work I provide for them at a reasonable price.
Where do you see your business in five years?
In five years, I see my business with more services and computers, a couple of full-time employees and poetry/art workshops. I know that this neighborhood has plenty of talent, so it would be nice to have workshops here for free or at low cost for everyone. I would like to have more accountability with the businesses in my neighborhood.
What do you love about the Mission?
I love the Mission’s culture and art. All the colors in the streets, the murals, the music in the taquerias/restaurants. The Mission is happy, talented and alive.