The owner of The Olive Street Agency in East Oakland credits Community Bank of the Bay (CBB) for making it easy to expand their business.
Rita Forte, a native of East Oakland, offers marketing and merchandising services as well as screen printing and embroidery. The Olive Street Agency’s clients are primarily schools, non-profit organizations, and small businesses.
“Community Bank of the Bay is actually my first time banking locally, and I’ve seen the benefits,” Forte said. “I love it. I can always be in touch with somebody. Everyone is really trying to help. They’re always like, ‘Hey, we’ll help you out.’”
“Because I think part of the bank’s mission is that they’re trying to help out the community, which allows me to have that experience. And I know that probably the person I’m talking to lives like maybe 10 miles from me. You know, it’s a sense of comfort and a sense of trust. So, I love that.”
Also, CBB helped Forte borrow the capital needed to add the capabilities to screen print t-shirts and other items at The Olive Street Agency. Forte recently demonstrated a T-shirt printing machine in an expansive production facility. Now, Forte does not need to have shirts and other physical marketing materials printed offsite.
“Without the help of CBB, and the CBB loan, I wouldn’t have been able to get this,” Forte said. “I mean, this is something that I’ve wanted in my business to be able to expand for at least the past five years. And finding that capital was not easy at all. I’m very thankful for being able to get the capital from CBB, for sure.”
“And once I was able to get this machine, it changed my whole business. It’s expanded my whole business by over 300%. That’s how much I needed it to expand. So, I’m very grateful for CBB in the long run.”