Dacia A.’s parents inherited her grandfather’s cattle ranch in Sonora, Mexico, in 1975. A short decade later, after her father attended a “Holistic Resource Management” workshop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, her parents were inspired to “actively participate in the creation of a sustainable, ranching culture.” Her father is a certified Holistic Resource Management Instructor and he holds workshops for sustainable ranching methods to ranchers in the Sonora Desert area. Aside from the cattle ranch, her parents also make mesquite lump charcoal. They prune the mesquite trees to help them grow and they use the pruned mesquite branches in four ways: they lay the brush on the ground to catch the sparse and precious water, they manufacture beautiful wood tiles, cutting boards, and wood flooring, they grind mesquite beans to make a healthy powder meal called Pechita, and lastly, they burn the mesquite in an underground pit to create mesquite lump charcoal.
Dacia’s parents have been manufacturing the mesquite lump charcoal for years and distributing the product to different buyers in Mexico. They discovered that buyers in Mexico were selling their charcoal for a much higher price to people in the U.S. This was the incentive for Dacia to start her own business in the U.S. to sell directly to U.S. consumers. With Dacia being a recent graduate from the University of Texas in El Paso this past May with a degree in Marketing and Management, she is now ready to market and sell the product in the U.S. This past summer, she created her own business with a separate name than her parents’, Lumbre.
Dacia will use this loan for operating expenses and buying more mesquite charcoal from her parents. Dacia says that if she had not received a loan, she “would have been stalled. ACCION Texas-Louisiana really helped my business move forward.” Since graduation, Dacia has been dedicating her time to marketing the product to restaurants and stores in El Paso. She is also trying to find big buyers in Colorado and California who would be interested in the green and sustainable processes her family uses to create this product.
Dacia says that the process of applying for a loan really helped her because it gave her time to realize what her actual costs were and where she should allocate her loan.
A challenge for Dacia is that people claim that the process of making charcoal is harmful because it emits smoke, which contaminates the air. Dacia argues that people buy charcoal regardless and that their ranch utilizes the pruned branches of mesquite in a sustainable way.
Eventually, Dacia would like to see Lumbre’s mesquite lump charcoal in the grocery store right next to Kingsford charcoal.
LiftFund. (www.liftfund.com) is an award-winning nonprofit organization (previously known as Accion Texas) with a mission to provide credit and loans to small and start-up businesses that have limited or no access to credit from commercial sources. Established in 1994 in San Antonio, LiftFund has helped Texas and Louisiana entrepreneurs strengthen their businesses, stabilize and increase their incomes, create employment, and contribute to the economic revitalization of their communities. Learn more at www.liftfund.com.