Sophia Garcia
A-Z Glass Company

Sophia Garcia

My name is Sophia Garcia. I own A-Z Glass. I've had the business since 1980. The worst thing I did was mortgage everything we had in order to purchase this business including our home, furnishing, expensive jewelry, automobiles and a small income unit. That was also the best thing we did because I was afraid of losing everything every day, so it made me work that much harder.

When I purchased this business, it was doing the high end. The business had been here 35 years and it was mainly designers and architects. The recession hit and companies were going out of business, yet I was not too aware of this at the time.

At that time there was a push for minority, woman-owned, small businesses. So I had to get myself certified as a woman-owned, minority, small business. And I had to focus on customers that really valued my certification, and that was the state, the city, and the federal government. So, once I was certified, I was able to bid city contracts. During that time the earthquake hit and the city rioted. These events were blessings that actually promoted our business.

The support of my spouse was very important because I work many, many hours. And I have a God, and that helps me. Those two things. I couldn't have done without. For me, it has been prayer and going home exhausted and getting back up and always being on call - we're on call 24 hours - that kind of pulled us through the real rough times.

To get ahead in this business you do everything to get the job. I sub some work out to a carpenter and if customers call us and say, Well, do you clean this or do you do that?" Yes, we do and if we don't know how, we learn how to do it.

In hindsight, probably one of the better things I did when I bought the business was that I also bought the building. I had to subdivide the building and turned it into rental offices so I could get income, and that helped us pay the mortgage.

I am very happy that I purchased this business. I was in menopause and I needed a change. This is probably one of the better things that I've done in my life. It was a lot of work. I'm looking to retire in four or five years. Lots of luck.