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Making it in San Diego: Entrepreneur builds breakfast empire

Posted: 12:49 PM, May 03, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-03 21:35:38-04
broken yolk small business breakfast eggs

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Owning a business can be tough but growing one can be even harder. Factor in the high cost of living in San Diego and the concept may seem impossible. But to John Gelestapolous, owning his own business came down to hard work and living out the American dream.

“I came here when I was 17 years old. I had 20 dollars in my pocket,” said Gelestapolous.

After leaving his small village in Greece in 1977, Gelestapolous came to San Diego and attended college. He went to classes during the day, worked as a dishwasher at night, all while earning his real estate license.

“I wanted to learn, I had this thirst for learning,” said Gelestapolous.

Fast forward to 1991, Gelestapolous, now married with kids, became exhausted with his schedule and grew tired of working paycheck to paycheck. It was this moment when he took the biggest risk of his life and decided to buy the Broken Yolk Café in Pacific Beach.

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According to Gelestapolous, there was one setback: startup funds.

So, he convinced his wife to let him charge $45,000 on five different credit cards and assume the previous owner's $280,000 loan to buy the Broken Yolk Café.

“I told her I had to take a big risk,” said John.

To get people in the door, John reached out to contacts he had made while working in real estate and invited them in for a free breakfast.

“I did that for six weeks, we built momentum, and the momentum never stopped,” said Gelestapolous.

Now, the Broken Yolk is a franchise with 34 locations across the country bringing in roughly $2 million annually per location.

“I didn’t think it was going to happen but what do they say, when you work hard, good things happen,” said Gelestapolous.

His biggest advice for others taking a new path in life or thinking about opening a business is to think ahead and plan for the future.

“Make a plan, and take risks. Move forward and don’t be afraid,” said John