GLENDALE, Ariz. -- -- The people fueling Arizona's economy don't get a lot of air time. They're the people who decide to take a risk, maybe quit their job and follow their dream despite very uncertain economic terrain.
For a Valley father, that meant starting a business built around his children. It hasn't been easy and it hasn't been cheap but he says it has been worth it.
It's been seven weeks of grinding and heating but James Bernau thinks his new Glendale business just might make it.
“Play Grounds Fun Zone and Café,” he says with pride. “I am exceeding my expectations my first month of business.”
Play Grounds mixes adult desires for good coffee, food and Wi-Fi with the reality, that for many, children are still in tow.
“I'm looking for the total experience,” Bernau said.
This is a second career for Bernau after 19 years in the grocery-store business working 15 hours for six days a week.
It is also a huge risk on his part. Bernau didn't make this decision lightly, he had a plan and he knew there would be challenges. But he learned very quickly when you are talking about starting a small business, things aren't always what they appear to be.
“You can't get an SBA loan right now for new business,” he said after his experience. ”It’s impossible. I went to three different banks. No one gives SBA loans out right now.”
So he drained accounts and got creative. He endured delays and city bureaucracy.
“Your funds get eaten up during construction, because it's always over budget,” he said.
With little money left for marketing, he gets the word out any way he can.
For him, this is not just about providing for his family, it's about being with his family.
“On a Saturday or Sunday, the kids come to work with me,” said Bernau.