Entrepreneurs see a future with their vomFASS store in Maple Grove

Mayakas - small

Article by: Neal St. Anthony, Star Tribune 

Fledgling entrepreneurs George and Jenny Mayaka of Eagan launched their version of the American dream in July at The Shops at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove.

George Mayaka, however, isn’t about to quit his day job just yet. But he has high hopes for their franchised vomFASS, the German-born retailer of oils, vinegar, wines and spirits.

“My wife, Jenny, is the one who runs the day-to-day activities,” he said last week. “We’ve been open about a month. We had a great grand opening. Things are going well.”

George Mayaka moved to Minnesota nearly 20 years ago to attend school, intending to return to his native Kenya after graduation.

Instead, he met and married Jenny and took a job in sales for Sandvik Hyperion, the Swedish industrial tool maker that has a Twin Cities plant. And the couple had two children.

George Mayaka, who travels extensively, came across a vomFASS store at a California airport. It reminded him of shopping with his mom in the Nairobi of his boyhood. Customers would sample before buying at food shops. The Mayakas borrowed $300,000-plus from their 401(k) retirement plan and a U.S. Small Business Administration-guaranteed bank loan for the franchise fee, inventory, construction and start-up costs. Mayaka, noting that it’s expensive and risky to get into the food-and-spirits business, is not quitting his day job.

He’s encouraged by results so far at the 1,300-square foot store.

“The products are fantastic,” George Mayaka said. “And The Shops in downtown Maple Grove is proving a great shopping destination.

“We’re store No. 20 in the United States and No. 2 in the Twin Cities (the other is at the Mall of America). We just want to get this start-up business stable and cash-flowing within a couple of years,” Mayaka said. “We hope to open another store … perhaps in Nairobi.”

He might try closer to home, too. “Rochester also would be a great location,” he said.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, a franchise. It is for information purposes only. Currently, the following states in the United States regulate the offer and sale of franchises: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. If you are a resident of one of these states, we will not offer you a franchise unless and until we have complied with applicable pre-sale registration and disclosure requirements in your jurisdiction.