Total loan: $5,000
Portland, OR, United States / Food
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A loan helped buy equipment for my family-run produce and grocery business inside the first Latino public market in Portland, the Portland Mercado.
I come from Guatemala City, Guatemala in Central America. I was raised in a very large, traditional family where we ate authentic foods, centered around family and friends. Chile rellenos, rice and beans, pipian and of course, tropical fruits were our favorites. Food was always essential to our culture and family traditions. My grandparents owned a grocery store in the city when I was young and my parents followed in their footsteps, opening a small business selling foods in a school. It was at these businesses that I first learned work ethic and deepened my relationship with food and business, thus establishing my entrepreneurial roots. I moved to Portland from Guatemala in 1993 after my family left everything to pursue safety from the violence of our country's civil war. Since leaving, I have returned just once, but I have always missed the flavors of home and working in my grandparents' and parents' grocery stores. Since arriving to the US, I have been working hard in grocery stores, where I feel most at home, to support my family. I currently work at a local Fred Meyer, which has given me a stable job and an opportunity to learn about the industry here in Portland, so I can pursue the opportunity to own my own store. My personal story parallels my long-time goal to start a family grocery and produce business, and to carry on my family's tradition as business owners and providers of food to our community. This vision will help my family connect to our heritage and create a stronger connection to the place we now consider home, Portland.