Cypress Design & Build Wins 2017 Small Business Award
Every year KSBW-TV and Union Bank select an elite group of Central Coast business to receive the Salute to Small Business Awards. This year, Cypress Design & Build was awarded the Minority Owned Business of Year in the KSBW-Union Bank Salute to Small Business.
Our business, Cypress Design & Build, in Sand City, puts food on the table for more than 250 people every day. We are family-owned and operated business. Caring for our customers, and each other is a big point of pride for us.
After all, our success has been 100 years in the making. Our CEO, Theresa Ream, and the Ream family, is proof positive that with perseverance, grit, and the ability to out think adversity, it is possible to get ahead.
Cypress Design & Build Business is Deeply Rooted in Family
Theresa’s mother, Juanita Margarita Louisa Santos was born in 1920 to migrant field workers. She lived tent cities. The kind you see in historical pictures of farm families that lived along the Salinas River, and stayed work encampments.
Childhood for Juanita required moves up and down the valleys of California. She changed schools several times each school year. Still, Juanita managed to earn straight A’s. She was advanced two grades because of her smarts.
Life was difficult for Juanita. Her parents were alcoholics and sometimes became violent. She escaped her home at age 13 by getting a job in Pebble Beach. She worked as a nanny for a doctor who had seven children. At age 15 she began modeling for a local artist on Alvarado Street. She graduated from Monterey High in 1936 with honors at the age of 16. Then, she met a man. She was very young when they married.
They lived in a house with dirt floors, and no heat. With three small children, Juanita used her forward thinking style; she decided to open a business.
First Mexican-American Woman Owned Business
Juanita Margarita Louisa Santos was the first Mexican business woman in Marina!
She soon became known in Monterey County for chickens and eggs — all organic, of course. Next, she opened a pet shop on Lighthouse Ave in New Monterey. Later it burnt down. Undeterred, Juanita opened Sabra Kennels in Marina, breeding beautiful teacup poodles, cocker spaniels and moon head chihuahuas. Next, she launched a pet grooming salon to keep the animals looking good.
There were many times Juanita had to hide her Mexican-American identity to escape discrimination. She would wear big hats and long sleeve shirts so she wouldn’t tan her skin.
Theresa Ream recalls the teachings of her empowered mother.
“My mother taught me to work hard and love your family,” Ream says that was always first and foremost. “ I worked at her side from the time I was very little. She taught me how to love my husband by the respect she showed my father, and that your kids didn’t have to be perfect to be loved beyond words.
“My mom, Juanita, stressed that animals deserve our love, and protection. She exemplified strength, and unwavering determination.
My mother fought for her life through two deadly illnesses and lived to be 92. But, one of her best attributes was her love for adventure. She was a free spirit, picking up and going somewhere fun at the drop of a hat. One day shortly after she broke her arm, she said, ‘come on Theresa I’m teaching you how to drive a stick shift, I will work the clutch and you shift…. we’re going to Disneyland tomorrow.’ I was only ten years old at the time but we drove the LA freeways together.”
Reflecting back, Ream sees the lesson so clearly.
“No one is who they are by their own making. Our experiences are shaped by those around us. And, I have always been fortunate to live in the cool shade of the people in my life.”
Cypress Design & Build: Part of a Family of Businesses
This philosophy drives Ream, and empowers the employees at Cypress Design & Build, America’s Floor Store – Floor Store USA, Disaster Kleenup Specialists, 1-800-Board Up, and Ream Construction — the Central Coast business that compose the Ream Companies.
Theresa Ream is living her mother’s legacy of entrepreneurship. She and her family, along with a team of employee leaders, are ushering Cypress Design & Build into the future with determination, and some wisdom from those who paved the way.