“(The SRJC) class took all the intimidation away from writing a business plan. I still say to this day that is why Screamin' Mimi's is successful: the ice cream is great, but if I weren’t so well prepared coming into it with a business plan, I don’t think it would be as successful."
A business planning class at SRJC helped Maraline Mazzetti Olson open and run the widely popular Sebastopol ice cream shop, Screamin’ Mimi’s.
Maraline’s journey from New York to California and from fashion industry to ice cream artisan had a few detours. She grew up in New York’s Hudson Valley and thought she’d like to study computer programming, but after a year at SUNY New Paltz she decided she preferred interacting with people instead of the more solitary career in front of the computer. Her sister helped her change careers and introduced her to the New York City fashion industry, where Maraline worked on styling supermodels like Christy Brinkley and Andie MacDowell for photo shoots. While that was a great and fun experience, Maraline felt that fashion put too much of an accent on looks, and after two years, she returned to Hudson Valley. For the next seven years she was a local entrepreneur, owning and running a clothing consignment shop.
When her husband, a PhD in chemical engineering, took a job in Sonoma County and they made the move cross country, Maraline again found herself wondering what she could do that she would love. Her childhood memories kept coming back: of her dad driving all six siblings in his convertible, on a roller coaster road in upstate New York, to go to their favorite ice cream parlor. She knew that her career should be in the business of creating happy memories and unifying adventures for families. After coming up with the business idea and creating lots of ice cream recipes, she enrolled in SRJC to learn how to create a business plan. That class helped Maraline build confidence and a practical plan for her business, and helped her get a loan for her ice cream parlor, located in the heart of Sebastopol. “That class took all the intimidation away from writing a business plan. I still say to this day why Screamin' Mimi's is successful: The ice cream is great, but if I wasn’t so well prepared coming into it with a business plan, I don’t think it would be as successful.”
Today, Maraline and her husband provide freshly made happiness in a cone. She does this with her two sons helping in the shop, along with many dedicated employees, some of whom are SRJC students. Screamin’ Mimi’s will celebrate 20 years in business this October, and is an important part of our vibrant Sonoma County community.
The small business management certificate includes the business plan class mentioned above, as well as classes in other business fundamentals such as accounting, marketing, ethics and problem solving.