A loan of $775 helped to buy purses and shoes to sell at retail.

Wilmer Antonio's story

Wilmer is 54 years old. He was born in Barranquilla, but he comes from a family of shoemakers of Paisan ethnicity (from the department of Antioquia.) He lives in the Soledad 2000 neighborhood with his wife, but he works in the La Concepción neighborhood to the north of the City of Barranquilla. He is a cobbler; he offers the service of fixing shoes and in addition he purchases purses and shoes to sell to his customers. With this work he has always supported his family and has managed to acquire his own home.

Although this is the first time that he is receiving a loan from the Mario Santo Domingo Foundation, he is very hopeful and happy with this new financing. He found out about this organization because a friend recommended it and likewise he recommends it to many more people so that they can benefit like him.

His dream is to advance his family and that every member of his family will achieve their particular goals. He plans to replace the roof of his kiosk and improve the image of his business by painting it. In addition he will restock his supply of purses and shoes, especially for the carnival season when sales increase. To do this he requests a loan of $1,500 to buy ready-made purses and shoes.

Wilmer works with his brother in a kiosk at the side of a church located on a corner in the La Concepción neighborhood where he has been located for 18 years. Although many of his relatives are cobblers, he started working in a shoe company as a messenger. After his brother taught him the skills of shoemaking and repair, that he himself had learned from his grandfather, Wilmer began working as a cobbler. For 4 years he walked the streets with a small case and a box shouting "Cobbler!" until the priest of the church offered him and his brother the space that they now occupy. From the start he liked it because there was no other cobbler stand and now he has more than 800 customers. He is satisfied that his good references and letters of recommendation from his customers will serve to help him access credit. His kiosk is located in a commercial zone, next to a supermarket and many other stores. His customers come from all parts; they leave their shoes with Wilmer and make their purchases while Wilmer fixes them. He is careful with the repairs that he makes. For example, when replaces the heel on a shoe he always adds stain and polishes the shoe so that you can't tell that it's been repaired, because he knows that satisfied customers are the ones that will return. They want to have their used shoes look like new, and for this reason they seek out Wilmer. Normally he has 20 customers, and at times even 30. In these months between November and February he is very busy because the new year is starting for the students and the schools.

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Lisa Grobar

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