I was born in Puebla, Mexico. My father was an electrician and my mother a stay at home mom. I had a humble upbringing; my father worked hard for us to have the essentials we needed and also provided the means to start my education. I was a good student and my parents pushed me to study. I was one of the highest in my class and with honors.
After high school, an opportunity presented itself to go work with my cousin in New York. He always to send me pictures of all the wonderful places he would visit and I had to come to see them for myself. I also knew coming to live and work in the United States there was opportunities that were not available in my home country.
I worked hard getting employment in grocery stores and minimarts where I quickly became a valued employee. I realized that here in the United States, saving my money, and working hard I could also own my own business. I eventually bought the minimart where I was an employee. I quickly realized that I needed to become an active participant in the health of my customers and my community, and began preparing a business plan with the help of the Harbor BusinessSource to offer healthy alternatives to my customers in the store. With the implementation of this new plan, I can provide education and healthier foods to my Hispanic community who have a high rate of obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
I was an employee of La Milagrosa market in Wilmington, CA for 4 years. It is a small minimart that sells Latino food products, snacks, beverages, fresh meat, and also produce. When the owner decided to sell, I saw my opportunity and jumped on it.
My dream was always to become a business owner in the United States, so I acquired it with my hard earned savings. I've gotten to know and care for my customers, who are predominantly Hispanic, and hope to continue providing excellent service while providing fresh, organic, and healthy alternatives that will make an impact in the health of my community.
We currently serve 100 customers a day, predominantly middle- and high-school students in the afternoons and the general community in the evenings. We strive to provide convenience and great prices, which makes a difference to our customers who often work full-time but want to avoid fast food for their families.
What is the purpose of this loan?
With this loan of $3,000, I will expand my inventory to include more (and healthier) choices. After investing all my savings toward the purchase of the store, I haven't been able to expand my product range. This loan will impact my business instantly by attracting more customers, who want and need a wider range of choices in their food and other convenience items.
My neighborhood has often been called a ‘food desert’ because there are few green, fresh, healthy options. I will first add more shelves where I can display my new inventory. I will then purchase an array of fresh and nutritious products such as wheat tortillas, low sodium canned goods, and organic produce just to name a few where in this community it is not so easy to access. This will allow me to introduce my community to products that are delicious and weight conscious, helping educate them on the importance of choosing healthier substitutes. I can then continue living my dream of being a productive business owner.
When my business grows the whole community also partakes in my success. I will hire more employees, creating economic opportunity in this small, tight-knit community.