Blanca and her family decided to expand their business, Jefeisa Enterprises, to El Paso, Texas because they saw an opening in the wood pallet market in the United States. She began Jefeisa, a wood-pallet recycling enterprise, 11 years ago in Monterrey, Mexico. Three years ago, Blanca decided to expand to El Paso by opening a distribution center where the goods created by Jefeisa in Mexico could be sold in the US. Blanca’s business is a family endeavor, run by her, her husband and her son, Filipe.
Jefeisa Enterprises recycles wood pallets for use in commercial packaging and distribution. They purchase used wood pallets, like those shown in her picture, from stores like Sam’s Club, take them apart and use this material to create new pallets for a client. Currently, all of the breaking down and reassembling of the wood pallets occurs in their Monterrey, Mexico plant, while the El Paso business functions as a distribution center to U.S. clients. Though the Monterrey plant employs about a dozen employees, Blanca and her family run the U.S. branch by themselves.
Blanca says that Jefeisa’s biggest challenge was attempting to break into the U.S. market with almost no knowledge of the American wood pallet business. Since she and her husband have limited knowledge of the English language, after they moved to El Paso, they relied on their son’s schooling to translate complex and confusing documents for the business. However, by taking classes at a local community college, Blanca was able to learn about the U.S. business paperwork, create a business plan and successfully break into the U.S. wood pallet industry. Today, she is proud to say that overcoming these enormous obstacles has been the biggest success her El Paso branch has seen so far.
In the future, Blanca aims to open a processing plant in El Paso to meet the needs of her American clients and to provide employment to her El Paso community. In preparation for this, Blanca has purchased a large plot of land and a building in which the processing plant is to be located. However, since the building wasn’t built to support the electrical needs of an industrial plant, the wiring and power infrastructure cannot, in its current form, be used to fit her needs.
This loan will help Blanca further her goal of opening a plant by updating the electricity on her newly purchased land. She says it will pay for the materials, labor and construction necessary to power the machinery needed to convert her building into a plant. Without it, this expansion would have happened at a much slower pace, as Blanca’s family has not built the kind of credit necessary to obtain a business loan from a traditional bank in the U.S.
With the aid of this loan and the continued support of her family, Blanca will continue to supply her American clients with affordable wood pallets and will expand her business to offer employment opportunities to her El Paso community.
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.