Gar and Lara Truppelli, co-owners, The Beach Chalet and Park
At 23, Gar Truppelli (M.B.A., ’94) had a vision for a boarded-up building overlooking San Francisco’s Ocean Beach; but so did 100 other entrepreneurs hoping to lease the space from the city. "At a pre-bid meeting we were told it would be at least three years before new construction could start," Truppelli recalls. "About half the crowd walked. I thought, ‘That’s cool. I can wait. I can raise the money while I go to school.’"
His future wife Lara (B.A., ’93) helped gather investors, including real estate developer Timon Malloy, while Gar worked on a plan for the restaurant in a business writing class, drawing from research conducted for Ellen Sheely’s course in marketing management.
It took three years of negotiations with the city but the Truppellis' persistence paid off in 1995, when Mayor Willie Brown (B.A., ’55) approved their proposal. More than a decade later, the Beach Chalet continues to pull in a steady stream of tourists with American food, microbrews, live music and sweeping views (together with the adjoining Park Chalet, added in 2004, the restaurants generate roughly $8.5 million in annual revenue).
Gar appreciates that his classes at SF State weren’t just about making the grade. "I had an idea of what I wanted to do and my professors understood that. They were ready to help students put [their business training] into real life."
The Truppellis still do their homework. After negotiating with more city officials, they were approved to open another restaurant, at Oakland’s Lake Merritt Boathouse, scheduled to open in summer 2009.