This month, we take a look at three of Columbia’s newest businesses or locations – El Oso, Savvy Strategies, and Frenchy Treats.
In May 2019, Betsaida Estrada and her family started their dining endeavors as El Oso Grill on Wheels, a food truck that offered the Columbia community authentic Mexican food. After having great success with a food truck, they made the decision to expand from those wheels to a restaurant.
In September 2019, the family opened El Oso. The new restaurant has several of the same menu items that were available at the food truck, but now they can give the community even more dishes. They hope to continue to thrive in this small space and provide authentic food to the community.
Betsaida explains that the restaurant’s tacos are always a popular choice among their customers. One of the most popular dishes they serve, however, is the molcajete. This dish, as Betsaida describes, is served in a traditional molcajete bowl that’s made out of stone. Betsaida explains, “We have good food that’s made a little different.”
522 E. Broadway
Kristie Beck started Savvy Strategies in June 2017 with a goal to help students with the college admissions process. Kristie explains that there’s two sides to this business: college admissions consulting, where she works with students anywhere from seventh grade to 12th grade, and ACT and SAT prep.
Kristie worked with high school students for 25 years as an English teacher and a principal before she decided to launch Savvy Strategies. She’s also a mom of six children, so she’s been through the college admissions process several times herself.
“The college admissions process is complicated and competitive,” she says. “I know the ins and outs of it really well, so I’m there to help guide them.”
Kristie’s next goal for Savvy Strategies is to launch online courses to allow her students to do the practice exams and courses on their own time.
3610 Buttonwood Dr., Ste. 200
When Julie Hutton moved to the United States with her husband, she found herself missing the delicacies she had in France. In March 2019, she decided to take a big step and start Frenchy Treats — a one-woman company that specializes in chocolate croissants and French macarons that can be found at Plume and the Columbia Farmers Market.
Julie learned how to make these pastries when she still lived in France; there, she took a class with professional chefs to perfect her macaron. She’s mastered the art of croissant making through trial and error. “I must have gone through four or five different recipes for croissants before I finally found one that tasted the most like home,” Julie says.
Julie’s goal is to keep the company small so she can continue connecting with her clients and baking herself. However, Julie would like to see herself in a partnership with this company so it can continue to grow in Columbia as she and her husband can set off on their next adventure.