High-end print shop sees growth with small business loan from VSEDC

Just a couple miles from the Santa Monica Pier sits the boutique printing shop, Thomas Editions, one of Los Angeles County’s burgeoning Black-owned small businesses. However, before Von Thomas opened this brick-and-mortar location on Santa Monica’s Ocean Drive, he had to navigate many challenges, especially during the ongoing pandemic. That’s when he sought assistance from VSEDC. 

Von has decades of post-production photography experience in film and television, and is a professor at Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television.  

Opportunity created a need for capital 

He founded Thomas Editions in 2019 to provide post-production active photography. Like many entrepreneurs, he based business operations out of his home. While the pandemic hurt large industrial businesses in Von’s field, it provided small businesses like his with opportunities to capture new clients. Von wanted to take advantage of the opportunity and see his business thrive, but his apartment was no longer suitable. This sparked his drive to seek out capital to move the business into its first brick-and-mortar location, offering greater visibility to clients while adhering to health and safety ordinances. 

Taking it to the next level 

“He understood how to take photography to the next level through printing,” said VSEDC’s Terry Gubatan, who served as Von’s business coach. “He knows what to look for and how to take photographs and make it into a work of art. His expertise is highly sought after. He gets next level results through printing.” Business coach Gubatan assisted Von in successfully applying for a VSEDC grant sponsored by Sempra Energy.   

VSEDC helped Von secure a low-interest loan from VSEDC’s Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) fund. Von has already used a portion of the loan on marketing efforts such as updating his website, purchasing much-needed materials, and he has hired as-needed part-time help. His business is thriving with monthly bottom-line and foot traffic increases. 

VSEDC was there for him with a loan 

“The loan from VSEDC helped me enhance my website. It resonates with people and rises above my competitors. It’s been a gold mine for me.”  

With assistance from the VSEDC CDFI revolving loan fund, Von has been able to expand Thomas Editions even further, granting him the financial means to advance his unique services while working with clients to achieve quality to their upmost satisfaction. Von is truly bearing witness to the fruits of his labor. 

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