To mark National Women's Small Business Month we're bringing you the story of Kathleen Daly, former owner of Cafe Zoe in California.
CAFE ZOE'S STORY
Kathleen Daly opened Cafe Zoe, a community coffee shop in the heart of Silicon Valley, in 2008. Kathleen had no prior experience running a small business, but for fifteen years she focused on the joy of community-building. She and her daughter Zoe created a beloved neighborhood establishment where all were welcome. Cafe Zoe hosted live music on the weekends and local art covered its walls.
Kathleen loved creating community and serving her customers, but she had not adequately focused on the financials of Cafe Zoe. She was thinking about selling the business and needed help improving operations and planning for the future.
WHAT DID TAP DO?
TAP’s partnership with San Mateo County Economic Development Association (SAMCEDA), an economic development agency focused on sustaining local economies, led to the work with Cafe Zoe. TAP consultants gave Kathleen the space and opportunity to think about the future of Cafe Zoe and consider different strategic options. They analyzed the cafe’s monthly cash flows to help Kathleen improve its finances. They also presented a source of comparable sale multiples to help Kathleen value the business.
"They showed me that I could increase the value of my business by managing it a lot better. I wasn’t focused on making money[,] … just community building,” says Kathleen. “The work the consultants did was such a gift to me."
Kathleen and Zoe decided they were ready for new challenges and sold Cafe Zoe in June 2023. Prior to her work with TAP, a business broker had recommended that Kathleen sell Cafe Zoe at a lower valuation. Kathleen knew her business was worth more. With TAP’s help, she and Zoe were able to increase sales and profitability, which led to a higher valuation and sale price. Kathleen is confident that Cafe Zoe’s new owner will sustain the culture of community-building that she and Zoe created. Today, she remains an active community volunteer, working hard to support those who work and live in her neighborhood.
“It was so fulfilling to work with Kathleen," says TAP consultant Tom Bochenek. "It’s great that she was able to sell the business she had built. The café will remain such an important part of the community under new ownership.”
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