Owners: Armando Ramirez and Daniel Reyes
Business: Off Top
Address: 2359 Mission St.
Category: Retail
Type: Clothing

What gave you the idea to start your own business?
We both always dreamed of having a business, wanting to be financially independent. We thought it would be awesome to open up a business in the Mission District, which is a location we can identify with because of the rooted Latino community. So far, things have gone the way we wanted and we’ve been able to focus on the growth of the business by investing into a new embroidery machine. Really having the financial independence is awesome.

What has your experience been opening a business within the Mission District?
I just feel proud. Being Latino, we’ve been taught to grow up and work hard. Coming from an immigrant family has not only deeply rooted us to this part of the city, but has created a strong sense of pride to see the pay off of our efforts. We — especially Daniel — are dedicated to drive our business forward, and it’s really thanks to the hardworking nature that was instilled in us by our parents. It makes everything better when Daniel and I have a business that is giving to our Latino community.

How does your business/business idea relate to your life?
Having a business and being financial free is something we worked hard to get to. I feel that what has influenced me a lot is the ingrained work ethic, plus being Latino. It’s a part of me and Daniel — having our own business around our people brings us joy to be in the Mission.

Where do you see your business in five years?
I would like to see this business grow and become a big part within the embroidery business. We would like to also support the growth of similar businesses by supplying them merchandise that is feasible. Ideally, establishing relationships and having a known established hat/apparel brand is something we would like in the future.

Why should potential customers invest in small businesses?
I think it’s important that customers invest in small businesses because many of the owners are usually families of the community. It’s like a network of families that come to this country or city with a dream to have a business and be successful. Many of these businesses have been here for many years and seeing how important it is for them that customers know their business shows a great deal about this community. People and families that buy for a local market or local store give wealth back to this community. I believe that is the importance of invested in small businesses.

What do you love about the Mission?
I love that this is still one part of the city that is strongly ethnic. My Latino community has been a huge influence on this part of the city, and I’m proud that I get to contribute to that narrative as a second-generation Latino. That is why Daniel and I wanted to start a business in this part of the city. That’s why the Mission is always going be a part of us.