Welcome Dreamers

Meet the 2021 Calling All Dreamers Winner! Gusto Gaucho

Drum roll please…the Downtown Sacramento Foundation is proud and excited to announce Federico Garcia of Gusto Gaucho as the winner of the 2021 Calling All Dreamers annual retail competition. The coveted prize package includes cash and in-kind services and resources valued at $120,000 to help launch the small business and turn dreams into a reality with a downtown Sacramento storefront. Garcia’s Gusto Gaucho winning concept was announced on February 22, 2022 by the 2019 award winners – Nash & Proper owners Cecil Rhodes and Jake Bombard – at the Downtown Sacramento Partnership’s annual State of Downtown program presented by Kaiser Permanente at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center.

“After pausing and pivoting the program in 2020 – to instead provide financial resources to help keep previous Calling All Dreamers winners afloat and open for business – resuming the program and announcing Gusto Gaucho as the new winner makes it that much more special,” said Michael Ault, Executive Director of Downtown Sacramento Partnership. “We applaud everyone who entered, and it is our hope that after the process they’ll all have the tools to be able to open a storefront in downtown Sacramento.”

Once opened, the new Gusto Gaucho café in downtown Sacramento will offer hand-crafted empanadas and pastries. Customers will relish the Argentine flavor in each bite – from the rich, layered crust of the pastries, to the tangy chimichurri sauce that accompanies the empanadas.

“Opening a cafe in downtown Sacramento will be a dream come true for me and confirmation of all the hard work I’ve put into the project over the years,” said Federico Garcia, owner of Gusto Gaucho. “Operating at various farmers’ markets in 2019, my customers really encouraged me to keep going because once they try my products, they keep coming back for more. I believe if you work hard, then little by little, amazing opportunities will follow.”

Produced by the Downtown Sacramento Foundation, Calling All Dreamers is a retail business plan competition that encourages entrepreneurs to compete for the chance to open a downtown storefront and earn a coveted business start-up package valued at over $120,000 to turn their dream into reality.

The first year is usually the most difficult for small businesses with many startups struggling with capital, overhead expenses, permitting processes and the details of actually managing a business.

To make it easier, in 2013 the Downtown Sacramento Foundation launched the Calling All Dreamers competition to support an entrepreneur to bring their dream of opening a downtown storefront to reality. Winners of the annual competition – including Nash & Proper, Neo Escape Rooms and The Allspicery – have quickly become signature small businesses downtown, inspiring new classes of dreamers to pursue their big idea year after year.

Competition at-a-glance

  • APPLY – Prepare an application, business plan and 60-second video. Applications closed August 16.
  • DEVELOP – Semi-finalist are paired with a business mentor from SCORE to build their concept and refine their winning pitch.
  • WIN – Chosen finalists will further refine their business concept, while the public votes for their favorite. Following a final pitch, one winner will be selected.

Starting a successful business is hard. But it doesn’t have to be.

Every seasoned business owner will tell you that starting, maintaining and growing a successful business takes a ton of work and a ton of time. But this is your chance to fast-track your path to success by applying to Calling All Dreamers. When you’re paired with a business coach to help you navigate the ins and outs of starting a business, and when you’re provided with all the essentials you need, you cut years off your journey and kick-start your results. Even though starting a business may still be a lot of work, Calling All Dreamer empowers you to be as successful as possible.

Be a part of the dream

The valuable prize package is made possible due to the generous support of sponsors who continue to be champions for the economic growth of the downtown core. Partnership opportunities are still available for local businesses able to donate much-needed accounting and marketing/website administrative support. Businesses interested in helping to make a difference by donating services should contact Tania Perez Muskopf, Business Development Manager, at [email protected] or 916-442-8575.



Winner, 2019: Nash & Proper

Cecil Rhodes II & Jake Bombard, Owners   In 2019, Cecil Rhodes II & Jake Bombard were selected as the grand prize winners of the Calling All Dreamers business competition. We caught up with the first-time entrepreneurs …

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