Ginger Thai Cuisine, Cedar Falls

Ginger Thai Cuisine, Cedar Falls

Wanida Thomas received help from America’s SBDC Iowa at the University of Northern Iowa in writing a business plan, finding a lawyer, applying for financing, and dealing with business problems, so she could open her Thai restaurant.

Ginger Thai Cuisine is an authentic Thai restaurant in Cedar Falls, Iowa that is owned and operated by Wanida Thomas, originally from Thailand. Wanida prides herself on serving fresh authentic Thai food to customers in the Cedar Valley.

Wanida first came to the UNI SBDC in 2010 for assistance in applying for a micro-loan because she had recently moved to the United States from Thailand and did not have credit or a job. She was denied the loan, but that didn’t stop her. Wanida saved her money and was eventually able to buy the building her restaurant is currently located in.

SBDC Regional Director Dan Beenken assisted Wanida in several ways including revising her business plan, finding a lawyer to deal with problems she was having with her general contractor, discussing financing options, how to research government programs, and assisting her with Targeted Small Business certification documents. Wanida met with Dan several times during high stress situations and he helped her work through each issue. Dan also put her in touch with the Cedar Falls mayor and city inspectors, so she could resolve problems caused by her general contractor.

Since working with the SBDC, Ginger Thai Cuisine has had tremendous success. They employ eight people, business is booming, and she is considering opening up a Thai bakery soon.

Wanida praises the assistance she received from the SBDC, saying, “Mr. Dan at the Small Business Development Center is a really nice man. He never disappointed me. He always was willing to help me especially during our bad situation with the general contractor. I would call him and be panicked, but he always calmed me down and talked with me. We always figured everything out. Sometimes he even referred me to other counselors for more help. He never let me down.”

Wanida and her staff can be reached by telephone at 319-266-2150, by email at, or on the company’s Facebook page at

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