Award Reception

Our Annual Award Ceremony is a chance to celebrate Bay Area family businesses making outstanding impacts in their communities.  Award winners have shown true heart, longevity, and commitment to community service. All of them serve a strong ethnic or specialty customer base that might otherwise be ignored.


Every year, we honor awardees from this year and the last. New winners are recognized by elected officials and professionally photographed with their family. The next year, this photo is offered to them—specially framed—as a lasting symbol of endurance and longevity. But the highlight of the Award Reception is hearing this year’s winners speak. They’re the people shaping our neighborhoods and communities. It’s an honor to recognize their great work.


The Gellert Family Business Center’s annual award reception will immediately follow the New Roots/New Routes conference on May 10th at 5:30 pm, at City College of San Francisco, 50 Frida Kahlo Way, in their Multi-Purpose Building.  We’ll be joined by City College of San Francisco’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, who will be recognizing their affiliated businesses.

 Stay tuned, our 2023 awardees will be announced shortly!

Our Criteria
We consider candidates who meet our 9-point selection criteria:
Nominate a Family Business
Each year the Gellert Family Business Center recognizes two family-owned businesses for their innovation, inspiring work, and impact on their community. Nominate your favorite Bay Area family businesses for consideration and help them get the recognition they deserve.

Register for both events today!

Gellert Family Business, City College of San Francisco, and Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center's

New Roots/New Routes Conference

May 10th 1:30 pm to 5:15 pm
At CCSF, 50 Frida Kahlo Way, in their Multi-Purpose Building
Gellert Family Business and City College of San Francisco's

Small Business Award Reception

May 10th 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm
At CCSF, 50 Frida Kahlo Way, in their Multi-Purpose Building

This year we are proud to partner with

Thank you to our SUPPORTER sponsors:
BiRite Foodservice Distributors
First Bank
Rogelio Kindelan Nordet
Monika Hudson Bowens

Become a sponsor of New Roots/New Routes

We invite you to become an integral part of our conference and award reception.
Sponsorship includes
  • Verbal recognition as an event sponsor during the reception
  • Name/logo placement and recognition on all event materials
  • USF President’s ambassador – Giving Society Membership recognition (supporter/contributor levels only)
  • Gellert Family Business Center Institutional Membership (Center banner listing)(supporter/contributor levels only)
  • Gellert Family Business Center Affiliate Membership (advocate level)
  • Tax deductibility
Gellert Family Business Award 2023 Winners
Congratulations to the 2023 Gellert Family Business Award Winners, Ace Mailing, Cumaica Café, and Sweet Joanna’s Café for exemplifying the best of San Francisco family business.

Ace Mailing

General Category

Ace Mailing, a San Francisco-based third-generation business, has been offering full-service direct marketing solutions since its inception in 1977. Owner Gwen Kaplan, with her mother and husband’s support, established the company with a mission to provide exceptional direct marketing services—passionate advocates for economic development programs. Gwen Kaplan’s sons, Miles, and Mathew Kaplan are carrying the family legacy forward and also adapting to the evolving needs of the mailing and advertising industry.

Quote from the owner: “Be willing to learn from your failures and strive for excellence.”

Visit their website

Cumaica Café

Hospitality Category

Roberto Guerrero, a native of Nicaragua, founded Cumaica’s Coffee House to bring Latin American family-style service to San Francisco. Guerrero’s passion for coffee began with his grandfather’s coffee plantation, where he learned the art of coffee. Guerrero has transformed Cumaica into a beloved neighborhood destination. The business is also an advocate for people with Down’s syndrome and employs them to help change public perceptions about the capacity within the physically challenged community.

Quote from the owner: “Leadership is about discipline, accountability, and not just authority.”

Visit their website

Sweet Joanna's Café

Hospitality Category

Sweet Joanna’s Cafe is a beloved downtown San Francisco Cafe famous for its breakfast, lunch, salad bar, and catering. It’s a popular spot for USF graduate students and was founded by Joseph Abughosh in 1992. Abughosh holds the conviction that Sweet Joanna transcends mere business; instead, it stands as a familial establishment crafted upon aspirations and enjoyment.

Quote from the owner. “Thank you, USF Gellert, Family Business Center, for empowering us.”

Visit their website

The Carl Gellert and Celia Berta Gellert Foundation make it possible for small businesses to be honored each year for their business achievements and community engagement.

Meet PAST Winners

2022 Gellert Family Business Awardees

Congratulations to the 2022 Gellert Family Business Award Winners, Beck’s Motor Lodge  and Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory for exemplifying the best of San Francisco family business.

Beck’s Motor Lodge

Beck’s Motor Lodge is the 2022 Gellert Family Business Awardee in the general category.  Beck’s Motor Lodge has been a fixture in San Francisco’s Castro District since 1958, providing a safe place for repeat and first-time guests, combining an inviting atmosphere with reasonable prices.  What impressed USF students who researched this business during the fall 2021 semester was the company’s routine support of families, whose loved ones are visiting UC Medical Center’s Davies campus hospital and clinic.  Students noted that Beck’s ongoing community engagement was key in distinguishing family-owned from non-family owned hotels.

Visit their website

Golden Gate Cookie Factory

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory is the 2022 Gellert Family Business Awardee in the hospitality category. Founded in 1962, Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory is one of the last remaining fortune cookie manufacturers specializing in hand folding techniques. The company is currently managed by Kevin Chan, whose mother and uncle opened it more than fifty years ago. In 2016, the firm was recognized with the official status of a “San Francisco Legacy Business”.

Visit their website

Meet PAST Winners

2021 Gellert Family Business Awardees

Congratulations to the 2021 Gellert Family Business Award winners, Miyako Old Fashion Ice Cream and Mendel’s for exemplifying the best of San Francisco family business.

2021 Awards Reception & Guided Wine Tasting

Join us in celebrating Mendel’s and Miyako Old Fashioned Ice Cream, our 2021 Gellert Award winners! And enjoy an interactive wine tasting with Paula Harrel of P. Harrell Wines.

Miyako Old Fashion Ice Cream - Fillmore

As the owner of Miyako Old Fashion Ice Cream, Tom Bennett has spent the last 30 years, offering his own rendition of ice creams from around the world.  Blending traditional fruits with all natural products, Miyako’s, authentic ice cream is a major draw to Fillmore Street.  What particularly impressed the USF students who studied this business during the fall 2020 semester was the company’s longevity and pride in retaining its small business customer service attitude.

Visit their website

Mendel's - Haight

Since its 1960’s inception, Mendel’s has been a Haight neighborhood anchor. Established by husband and wife duo, Mendel and Sarah Herscowitz, under the direction of its third generation owner, Naomi Silverman, Mendel’s focusses selling art and craft supplies. Naomi hopes that her son will be interested in taking the firm over some day. Mandel’s prides itself on its proactive approach toward generating job opportunities for local residents as well as its values-driven commitment to community empowerment.

Visit their website

Meet PAST Winners

2019 Gellert Family Business Awardees

Congratulations to the 2019 Gellert Family Business Award winners, Fresca and Jones Protective Services for exemplifying the best of San Francisco family business.

Fresca Restaurant - Inner Sunset

Hospitality Category

Fresca owners Julio, Jose, and Ivan Calvo Perez have been offering visitors their own take on Peruvian cuisine for 32 years.

Each dish is steeped in rich history and made with authentic ingredients. Their blend of traditional style with a lively gastronomic approach has ignited a passion in diners that paved the way for San Francisco’s Peruvian restaurant boom. Customers rave about Fresca’s bottomless mimosas, fantastic customer service and amazing food.

But what truly impressed the USF students who spent time working with this business in the Fall 2018 semester was the company’s regular provision of food and services to local shelters. Their outstanding community engagement truly sets them apart. Congratulations Julio, Jose, and Ivan!

Visit their Website

Jones Protective Services - South of Market

General Category

Nominated by Multiforum Advocacy Solutions business owner, Lucy Quancinella. The motto of Jones Protective Services is “SPIRIT”—Safety, People, Integrity, Responsibility, Innovation and Teamwork. They’ve embodied these values since their establishment in 2004. Since then, the firm has partnered with local clients to provide safe and secure environments for events, retail centers, and more.

Their proactive approach to generating job opportunities and community engagement sets them apart. Owner Herman Jones is an active member of his local Rotary Club. He enthusiastically supports his employees’ involvement in neighborhood cleanups and other service projects.

Thank you to Herman and Jones Protective Services for their work empowering and protecting our community. Congratulations!

Visit their Website


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