Total loan: $3,450

Las Conchitas Group

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San Felipe del Progreso, Méx., Mexico / Retail

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A loan helped to service a nixtamal mill and to buy merchandise for a general store.

Las Conchitas Group's story

The following group is called “Las Conchitas” and has 10 members, all women. The group is located in the community of Concepción Chico. The community is somewhat large but it’s on a hill. The main road is paved but during the rainy season sand starts to wash off and there is mud everywhere. People in the group live near each other so are good neighbors and this is the reason they joined together and formed a credit group. They called it “Las Conchitas” because they are women from the community of Concepción (whose lovable nickname is Concha). María is the group Treasurer and she relates the story behind her business. She has a general store where she sells candy, soft-drinks, bread, milk, etc; everything related to groceries. Her store is small but she also owns a nixtamal (dough made from corn used for tortillas, tamales, etc.) mill. It’s customary out in the communities for the women to make hand-made tortillas and not to buy them at a tortilla shop. They need a mill that will grind the corn so that they can make tortillas and María has that mill so that people can grind their corn. She’s been in business a little more than 8 years and the difficulty she faces is competition from other stores and from individuals who also own mills. Aside from that, she also mentions that on occasion she’s been paid with counterfeit bills and she doesn’t notice and loses a lot of money. She also has to pay to service and repair the mill. She wants a new loan to pay to service the mill and to buy stock items for her store; she wants to sell new products. Her goal is to improve day to day and to buy some shelving to arrange her store nicely and be able to sell more merchandise. She hopes to have more profits because her fixed goal is to provide schooling for her children. María has three children in school and she wants to support them with their transportation costs. She’s lived with her husband in a common law relationship for the last 15 years. She’s 43 years old. She lives with her family in her own house. Her husband works too and this is why María helps him out with what she earns in the store. The other group members and their activities are: 1.-Ana Luisa, has a nixtamal mill 2.-Valentina, raises sheep to sell 3.-Maria Eleuteria, has a nixtamal mill 4.-Maria Modesta, has a general store 5.-Rosa, has a stationery shop 6.-Felipa, raises and sells horses 7.-Maria Guadalupe, sells fresh fruit juice 8.-Juana, sells vegetables 9.-Nicolasa, raises and sells sheep.