Growler USA - Friendswood
- 2/1/2019

Growler USA - Friendswood


Don Melcher worked as a NASA contractor specializing in safety protocols for many years. In 2016, he decided to make a bold career shift and start his own business. 

He started looking into Growler USA Pub franchise—an American style pub that serves on tap, 100+ craft beers and other unique beverages. But having no previous restaurant or small business ownership experience, he went to the San Jacinto College Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for assistance.

San Jacinto SBDC business advisor Richard Prets worked closely with Melcher to write a business plan including financial projections, to prepare all loan application documentation. Prets also assisted with strategic planning, market research and other start-up activities.  Additional assistance was provided vetting potential restaurant locations including reviewing proposed lease agreements. 

“Richard and the SBDC team has helped me from the very beginning,” said Melcher. “On top of helping me develop my initial business plan, they helped generate sales predictions. I have also taken advantage of the various business classes they offer, such as QuickBooks.”

With the guidance of business advisor Prets, Melcher successfully obtained a SBA 504 guaranteed loan from Texas First Bank for $482,000 to purchase the Growler USA franchise.  Melcher also provided an additional $260,000 in owner’s equity cash to the project. 

Growler USA – Friendswood open in April 2018. Melcher has hired a total of 19 employees; 3 full time employees and 16 part-time employees. Most recently, the Center has assisted Melcher with an effective marketing plan.