Small Business, Big Character

While known for its tech roots, Fremont is home to over 3,600 small businesses that proudly serve Fremont locals and those who work in our community. This number includes 300 restaurants as well as non-retail businesses like manufacturing, auto shops, consultants, and more.

The City’s rich diversity adds to its strong entrepreneurial spirit, and the numbers prove it. Nearly 68% of businesses are owned by women or minorities, and 66% of those owners were born outside of the United States.

Neelam and Amit, Joe’s Corner | Aaron Kwok, Ho Chow Restaurant | Rich Thomas, Polished Beauty Lounge 

Our City is a place for people of all backgrounds to grow their small businesses, tell their stories, define their success, and make their mark. Home to regionally renowned and guide-worthy eateries, Fremont’s cuisine has been praised by the San Francisco Chronicle along with chef and food writer J. Kenji Lopez-Alt.

Put simply, our small businesses keep Fremont fun, inclusive, and economically resilient.

That’s why our goal as your Economic Development Department is to support small businesses in any and every way possible. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, our innovative programming such as Gift Fremont and Pop-up Patio have allowed our Fremont small business community to remain resilient.

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“I truly believe that when small businesses thrive, the community thrives, so it is heartwarming to know that I have a support system in Fremont. Julie, the Economic Department’s Small Business Ally, is amazing; she feels like a good friend who cares about my well-being. Not only does Julie and the rest of the Economic Development team care about my business, but they also care about our employees and their success.

— Sway Soturi, Forest & Flour

We are always looking to invest in programming and initiatives that can better our small businesses and assist with obstacles that you may encounter. The Economic Development team are all ready to assist, and we are excited to have Julie serve as your initial point of contact.
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Meet Your Small Business Ally, Julie Vidad

We know that owning a small business is challenging. Nevertheless, you have a secret weapon right at your fingertips — our Small Business Ally, Julie Vidad.

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If I could describe my role in one word, it would be ‘concierge.’ My job is to be there for small business owners in all kinds of situations. When businesses call, they know they are getting a real person who understands their needs and is deeply committed to their success.”

— Julie Vidad, Small Business Ally

Whether you are searching for the perfect location or have questions about permits, Julie’s decade-long history working with the City of Fremont and its permitting process makes her your go-to resource to help your small business get off the ground and ultimately thrive

Beyond knowing Fremont’s policies and procedures inside and out, Julie has cultivated many strong relationships with outside agencies, including Fremont Chamber of Commerce, Neighborhood Business District Associations, Alameda County Health Department, Union Sanitation District, Alcohol Beverage Control, and more to help cover all bases, advocate for Fremont small businesses, and simplify processes.

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“I am especially grateful to have Julie as an ally. When we encountered challenges — navigating being in a mixed-use building, estimating build-out costs, permit procedures, etc. —  Julie was always one call away. She has incredible local expertise and strong relationships with different planning departments, making keeping to a schedule easier.

— Amy Davis, Banter Bookshop

Get it touch with Julie by emailing jvidad@fremont.gov or calling (510) 284-4026 to learn how she can help jumpstart your business.

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LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW FREMONT SUPPORTS SMALL BUSINESSES.

Our Diverse Districts

In addition to providing a resource to help your small business in all phases of growth, Fremont also offers unique districts that make great locations for your business to call home.

Much like our business owners, our districts and neighborhoods are diverse — employing over 27,000 people, with one in every four jobs tied to a small business. With our main street districts — Centerville, Niles, Irvington, Warm Springs, and Mission San Jose — serving as the backdrop, small businesses can thrive and embrace what makes them unique in each of our distinct districts.

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“Being from Nepal, we believe Fremont has many opportunities for new business owners to follow their dreams. Especially when it comes to food, the city is a melting pot of different cultures which makes it a great place for restaurants of different ethnic backgrounds to survive and thrive.

— Bhakta Thapa, MOMO and KEBAB

Jesse Schaa, Schaa’s Lawnmower Sales and Service | Raju, Off the Record | David and Ylma Gutierrez, DG Auto Body & Paint | Dirk Lorenz, Fremont Flowers

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Bob Sepehri, Ohlone Deli

Are you a collector, foodie, or a nostalgic type? There is something for everyone — from the whimsical “Dragonfly Market,” tucked away in the heart of the Irvington District that showcases local artists’ handmade goods; to Centerville’s Kyian Kyian, ranked a top Burmese restaurant in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Eater; to the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in the Niles District.

More of the outdoorsy type? Head to the Mission San Jose District. Known to have the best panoramic view of the San Francisco Bay, Mission Peak draws hikers near and far. The district is also home to the historic Mission San Jose.

Downtown is the newest Fremont neighborhood and presents a wonderful opportunity for incoming small businesses. The Downtown and City Center master-planned areas are BART-accessible and have streamlined development approval to allow for thousands of housing units, retail, medical, and office uses.

There is already a strong retail presence, including Din Ding Dumpling House, Banter Bookshop, Deka Lash Beauty Salon, RawASF, and Sliver Pizzeria, but the culmination of years of planning and tens of millions of public investments doesn’t end here.

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We are especially excited for the newly opened Downtown Event Center, which hosts major city-wide events, some of which feature small businesses themselves and draw foot traffic to the area.

Fremont’s maker culture is alive. The Fremont community is a hub for advanced manufacturing, with a diverse population with a distinct set of skills (think electro-mechanical engineering), the City’s top-notch schools connecting skilled workforces to small and growing production businesses, and a robust supply chain ecosystem that supports the scaling of smaller manufacturing businesses. Whether you are designing silicon wafers or making waffles, there is a place for makers of all kinds in Fremont.

Finally, there is a variety of affordable industrial spaces and mixed-use projects, making it easy for small businesses and producers to incubate and scale up over time. We are committed to supporting our local small-scale manufacturing businesses and makers producing everything from German-style beers to gorgeous blooms, natural and organic ice cream in exotic flavors, and gluten and dairy-free baked goods, made from locally sourced ingredients.

We are especially excited for the newly opened Downtown Event Center, which hosts major city-wide events, some of which feature small businesses themselves and draw foot traffic to the area.

Fremont’s maker culture is alive. The Fremont community is a hub for advanced manufacturing, with a diverse population with a distinct set of skills (think electro-mechanical engineering), the City’s top-notch schools connecting skilled workforces to small and growing production businesses, and a robust supply chain ecosystem that supports the scaling of smaller manufacturing businesses. Whether you are designing silicon wafers or making waffles, there is a place for makers of all kinds in Fremont.

Finally, there is a variety of affordable industrial spaces and mixed-use projects, making it easy for small businesses and producers to incubate and scale up over time. We are committed to supporting our local small-scale manufacturing businesses and makers producing everything from German-style beers to gorgeous blooms, natural and organic ice cream in exotic flavors, and gluten and dairy-free baked goods, made from locally sourced ingredients.

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“One of the great things about Fremont is the diverse groups of people who either live here or visit. We were nervous about opening during a pandemic, but the Fremont community rallied behind us and showed their support. Our customers come from all walks of life, from students to businesspeople to health workers and more.”

— Menny Ly, RawASF Superfoods Café

Small Business Strong

In addition to adding authentic charm to Fremont’s main streets, our small businesses have frequently partnered with the City to support our community.

Patty Segura, El Patio

For example, four local restaurants (El Patio, Awasana Kabob, Quochon, and RawASF) partnered with Human Service’s Winter Relief Program to provide weekly meals to families and individuals experiencing homelessness. Meal expenses were covered by a corporate grant from Cargill, which made it possible for the participating restaurants impacted by the pandemic to receive payment for the meals, a testament to our interest in public-private partnerships.

During spring 2021, the City partnered with a pillar of Fremont’s small business community, Haller’s Pharmacy, to open a COVID-19 clinic, providing around 1,400 vaccinations each weekend. For six decades, the family-owned pharmacy has worked to serve the community and its changing needs. That was no exception when the pandemic hit. Haller’s put to work its community connections and pre-existing relationships with congregate and assisted living facilities to provide mobile vaccination clinics and put extra vaccine doses in danger of expiring to good use.

These are just a few examples of how our small businesses have stepped up and assisted our surrounding community in times of need. It’s this symbiotic relationship that makes Fremont a special place to live, work, and play.