Get the Burger Gets It… with the Help of the Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
By Angel Cardoz, Business Counseling and Training Manager, Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Considering the condition of the economy, people are not surprised to see businesses closing their doors. However, in the heart of Big Bear, on Big Bear Boulevard, lies not the remains of a once thriving business, but rather the beginning of “the next big thing” – Get the Burger. As owner Eric Schwartz puts it, Get the Burger “is like In and Out on steroids.”
Get the Burger maintains a simple philosophy – customers can make or break a business. It’s for this reason that they maintain a strong relationship with the community, by being active participants in their local Chamber of Commerce and volunteering for local community events.
Early in their entrepreneurial career, Eric and Lynn Schwartz joined the Big Bear Chamber and started hosting mixers and fundraisers. During the fires of 2003, which engulfed many of the forests surrounding their community, Eric along with other volunteers cooked for the firefighters at a local ski resort & lodge. In addition to these activities, the Schwartz’s are known for their charitable contributions to community arts, Big Bear Sheriff’s Explorers & “Citizens on Patrol”, and the Domestic Violence Shelter. Their involvement in the community and their charitable work and contributions was reciprocated years later, during some very turbulent times for their business.
During 2008, Get the Burger encountered some difficulties with their location and were forced to relocate. Financial and operational barriers stood in the way of their relocation. It was during this time that Eric and Lynn learned about the Inland Empire Women’s Business Center (IEWBC), a program funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration and dedicated to helping aspiring and existing business owners reach their entrepreneurial goals. The IEWBC helped them write a business proposal, develop a pro-forma, prepare a loan package, and ultimately secure financing.
Thanks to their hard work & entrepreneurial spirit, and the help of the talented consultants at the IEWBC, as well as support from their family and community, Get the Burger was able to reopen their doors on June 30th, 2009. Not only were they back serving the community they love, but they also created 12 new jobs. Their new location can accommodate 50 people, as opposed to their old location that could only seat 15 individuals.
Despite the economic downturn experienced in the last few years, Get the Burger was able to bring about even more positive news. Their company was able to create three additional summer jobs, as well as maintain their original 12 throughout the year. They added a few items to their select menu which have all been quite popular. Eric and Lynn continue to work with the IEWBC as they prepare to expand and open a new location somewhere in San Bernardino County. Get the Burger has shown that working with your local business resources, maintaining strong community ties, and remembering that the customer always comes first, success is possible.