Monica runs a stall selling women’s shoes and children's toys at the Berryessa Flea Market in San Jose, California. Before opening her own business, Monica spent five years working for a watch salesman at the market and refining her own sales skills. However, she worked long and difficult hours and did not retain control over the profits she made. In 2001, Monica decided it was finally time to become her own boss. Getting started was difficult, she said, especially figuring out things like permits, but she is glad she did.
Monica’s stall is now open for business Thursday to Sunday every week, and she has one employee who helps her on the busier weekend days. A $3,500 loan from Opportunity Fund will allow her to increase her inventory and consequently boost sales. To help manage the growth, Monica’s husband, Paul, will begin working at the stall with her. Until recently, Paul made a living selling paintings. He explains that the market for artwork has suffered recently. The couple is excited to have the opportunity now to work together at Monica's stall.
"I already have the satisfaction of working for myself, but I hope my business grows more," said Monica when asked about her goals for the future. She is proud of her success and that it enables her to send money to Mexico to help her parents and to support her sister's education. While she has a few cousins in the United States, the rest of her family lives in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico.
Monica first learned about Opportunity Fund from a brochure that a cousin gave her. Her experience has been very positive and she hopes to get a slightly larger loan in the future. "I am very grateful to Opportunity Fund," says Monica, "because I'm going to keep moving forward with my business."
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