Sean Sullivan has been an advocate for the LGBTQ community and the Oakland small business community for 15 years. He and his partner Richard Fuentes saw an opportunity to create a gathering place open seven days per week, specifically focused on serving LGBTQ people and Uptown. From that combination of passion and opportunity, The Port Bar was conceived.
Sean and Richard worked with the Alameda County Small Business Development Center (SBDC), now hosted by Main Street Launch, to prepare for construction and for launching the business. “Deagon Williams [SBDC consultant] is a tremendous resource for bars and restaurants. She helped us with our financials, with our employee handbook, with best practices for hiring, and generally served as a resource for all the questions we had throughout the process of building our business,” says Sean.
Part of The Port Bar’s development was a construction project to build out their location at 2021 Broadway in Oakland’s Uptown District. “Our Main Street Launch loan helped us finish construction and also provided us with working capital so we can have money aside to support us as our business grows,” says Sean. “Beyond the money, the loan gave us a sense of focus. Scott [Lewis, Main Street Launch’s CFO] was with us the entire two-and-a-half years that it’s taken to make this happen.”
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