"I started this business with a goalie equipment"

- Essan, Bay Area Hockey Repair

I was born in Quezon City, Philippines, raised by my grandmother but was reunited with my parents at age 12, moving to Nevada, Missouri. In a new country trying to assimilate as a teenager, I struggled to make friends and only focused on my studies & helping my new stepdad with the farm. We had a 20-foot satellite with over 500 TV channels & a radio antenna that reached other continents! Over time, I discovered the New Jersey Devils and Kansas City Blades of the former IHL. I fell in love with the sport.

Later that year, I saw a video about goalie Arturs Irbe "Michelin Man" making his own repairs! Grandma taught me how to sew while running her business, and I knew this was my way to get in the sport. We moved to California in 8th grade and the first chance I got, I rode the bus to Gremic Roller Hockey in downtown San Jose and asked the Owner if I could repair their rental gear for cash & rink time. Mr. Van Leuwen took a chance on a 14-year old kid set off the journey that is now a worldwide brand.

I was an Art School Dropout on a full scholarship, had over 100 jobs between age 16 to 29 before I founded this business. I was lost most of my 20's, but hockey saved me twice. My dreams are to use this loan to make my business run more efficiently, invest time training new talents, purchase manufacturing dies, apply for patents, and website makeover. Entrepreneurship runs in my blood through Mom who saved up for a plane ticket to U.S. with her convenience store, grandma Victoria with her fish market, to her grandparents going back 100 years.

I’m excited about growing my passion. Bay Area Hockey Repair & Sharpening is the MOST complete hockey & sports repair shop in the world with the largest social media following in our industry. I started this business in 2011 with a $20 impulse Craigslist purchase of goalie equipment, evoking old skill set that allowed me to play hockey at age 14. I reached out to my former coaches, teammates, & everyone in the local hockey community about my new business, making house calls, doing repairs from the trunk of my vehicle. BAHR is now a worldwide brand in the hockey community.

From Skate Sharpening, Profiling, repair all types of hockey & sports equipment except broken helmets. We have repaired over 20,000 items, reached 20 countries with mail-in repair customers, manufacture and sell our products to over 30 countries (via Ebay/website store, facebook page, hockey community boards and forums), assisted professional equipment managers, current/former pro athletes while maintaining 5-star YELP!, 5-star Facebook page & 4.9 Google + reviews.

Between the San Jose Hispanic Chamber, Mimi Hernandez from Small Business Development Center, and the interns that helped me with the application process, it only took 27 hours to get funded while the process of getting funded and applying took way more! It was unbelievable the support from my customers and people that were moved by my story.

So far the Kiva Loan has allowed me to overhaul my old website and finish the new one (a huge success!), buy more raw materials, and help run my business more efficiently. Kiva is a great way to share your story and have a helping hand to get ahead with your business!

Website: Bayareahockeyrepair.com


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About the author

Kathinka K. Nakstad

Kathinka moved to San Francisco to pursue her BBA degree, with a major in marketing. Being form Norway, she time to time misses the different seasons (especially winters with snow). One of her hobbies consists of finding a part of a city and explore it for a whole day. Checking out cool boutiques, and the best places to eat. Two of her favorite places to visit are Budapest and Vienna. No wonder her dream job would be to travel the world and write about the places she visits.