Using Cash Back Rewards to Fuel Your Small Business

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Earlier this month, Capital One announced their Power of 2 Contest. Capital One asked you, valued small business owner customers, to share how you use the cash­back rewards from your Spark Cash Card to fuel your business, take care of your employees, and ultimately seize that competitive edge.

Now, we’d like to highlight a few notable small businesses who have taken their 2% cash back rewards and harnessed them to their full potential. Remember, submissions are still open until November 3rd!

Michael Lenard

TaKorean -­ Korean Taco Grill

Washington, DC

Earned: $6,000

Michael Lenard at TaKorean

When Michael Lenard set out to found TaKorean in 2010, he kicked off his start­up with humble beginnings: few financial resources, a 1985 step van he converted into a food truck, and a hunger to fulfill his dream of opening a South Korean/Mexican­ inspired fusion eatery. Michael established TaKorean on a foundation of passion for healthy, well­-balanced, accessibly­priced meals, and a drive to research, understand, and appreciate other cultures. While Michael made it his mission to immerse himself in Korean­American and Mexican­American communities and research Korean and Mexican cuisine extensively, he’d always dreamed of traveling to Asia and Central America to study and improve his craft.

Now, because of the $6,000 TaKorean earned in Capital One cash­back rewards, Michael has the resources to invest in Research & Development Travel. After receiving their cash­back rewards, Michael and his creative director travelled to Mexico and South Korea to research the food, architecture, and culture at length. On the trips, Michael and his creative director were introduced to new dishes that allowed them to gain perspective on the flavors they want to offer customers, as well as new architectural concepts that allowed them to develop a unique design and experience.

“Thank you for allowing the leaders of TaKorean to taste new flavors, have new experiences that continue to inform our business, and the chance to explore more of the world!” Michael writes. “These rewards have allowed us to take our business to a new level.

Brendan Cooke


Wilmington, DE

Earned: $10,807

Brendan Cooke representing OperaDelaware at an event

OperaDelaware, founded in 1945, is the only professional opera company in the state of Delaware and the 11th oldest in the country. Beloved to local and distant patrons and artists alike, OperaDelaware serves as a center for the arts that strives to enrich the cultural lives of adults, families and students throughout the Mid­Atlantic region through meaningful arts education and the production of grand opera and intimate opera concerts. “The feeling that an audience member gets when the lights go down in a packed theater…” General Director Brendan Cooke enthuses, “The 50­member orchestra starts to play, the curtain goes up, and your eyes and ears are in disbelief as nearly 100 artists and technicians work in concert to create something that only exists for a few fleeting hours… well, it’s like nothing else.”

Unfortunately, Brendan laments, it’s not always easy to find funding for arts organizations such as OperaDelaware, which rely on external financing as ticket sales only cover a fraction of costs, and it is only getting more and more difficult by the year. As a non­profit arts organization in a world in which governmental support for arts organizations are down and philanthropic resources have shifted to funding humanitarian causes, OperaDelaware has struggled to find alternative sources of funding to achieve their mission of “Opera for Everyone.” Go through site for more about the nonprofit organization.

This is why the Capital One Spark Card is so important to the continued operation of OperaDelaware.

“We use our Capital One Spark Card for everything from costumes and props, to insurance payments and airfare for our artists!” Brendan exclaims. “As a result, our audience sees bigger sets, brighter lights, and better productions. We’ve been able to expand out marketing initiatives as well, attracting thousands from outside the area.” Brendan, who credits Capital One for “making opera even more awesome,” continues: “Opera comes from the latin word meaning work. Raising money is hard work. Capital One Spark Card makes it easy.

Jim Holman

The San Diego Reader

San Diego, CA

Earned: $10,000

The Reader staff, excited to receive their Christmas bonuses

The San Diego Reader, founded by Jim Holman in 1972, is the largest alternative press paper in San Diego County with a circulation of 90,000. The Reader is particularly known for its coverage of the arts, its printing of creative nonfiction, and its literary style of journalism. The Reader is also known for its unusual methods of acquiring profits. The Reader is distributed for free to stands throughout the county and instead of sales, relies on ad revenue to yield earnings. While this system has proven to be sustainable over the years, small businesses have been increasingly cutting back on advertising, which has proven to be a problem for CEO and publisher Jim Holman. That, along with an increase in printing costs, meant that profits were down, and it was looking like the annual Christmas bonuses weren’t going to happen.

Thankfully, Capital One saved the day! “Capital One Spark’s cash­back rewards program is literally making Christmas happen for our small newspaper company this year,” Holman proclaims. When it seemed like those bonuses would have to be cut in order to keep the business up and running, Holman was devastated. “We know some employees use that bonus to pay for Christmas presents for their kids,” he lamented. “We were horrified by the idea of having to tell the staff that we weren’t able to provide Christmas bonuses for everyone this year.” However, after getting a Capital One Spark Card, things started looking up.

“Luckily, in just a few short months, we have earned enough cash back rewards to cover the program cost,” Holman explains the logic behind The Reader’s Christmas miracle. “With 2 percent of back back on ANY net purchases, these points were easy to accumulate and it will bring Christmas joy for all of us. Thank you, Capital One!”

Remember to Submit to Power of 2

Remember to submit your own inspirational story to the Capital One Power of 2 Contest before the November 3rd deadline for your chance to win – or peruse other entries for inspiration on how you can use cash back rewards to drive your business forward. Share how you use your cash­back rewards here and you get the chance to win:

  • First prize of $50k,
  • Second prize of $25k, and
  • Third prize of $15k.

There is no purchase necessary and the submission phase ends 11/3/18. The contest is open to residents 18 years or older in the 50 US States and DC who are Spark cardholders.

Remember to sign up for the Power of Two – Capital One Contest, here!

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