What is your nationality? And what are you most proud of about your culture?
I am Central American, from El Salvador. I am proud of my culture because we are hard-working, don’t give up, and we are not afraid to dream big. It is an honor to be able to represent for my country because it made me who I am today. I proudly wear the Salvadorian and American flag.
When did you move to the United States? And how long have you lived in Aurora?
I moved to the United States a little over 27 years ago. I first lived in Los Angeles, California for about three years and then moved to Aurora, Colorado. I have been here since and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
What made you want to move to Aurora?
We wanted a new start to raise our family.
What do you love most about living in Colorado or Aurora for that matter?
I love Colorado because this has been my home for so long. My beautiful family is here and living here has given me the opportunity to open successful businesses. California had a lot of local Latin grocery stores and at the time, Colorado had more opportunities for entrepreneurs.
What sort of business do you have? And why did you decide to open a business specifically in Aurora?
I am so grateful and blessed because at the beginning of 2022, my husband and I will be opening the doors to our two new businesses in Aurora, Colorado. We currently have Mi Tienda Naturista, which is an organic medicine, herbs, and supplements store. Mi Carniceria and Mi Panaderia will be open soon and we will have a large variety of fresh groceries, fresh meat, fresh bread, menudo, tacos, etc.
What do you love about being a business owner?
This is truly a dream come true for me. I am fulfilling every dream I had as a little girl growing up in a very poor country. I used to walk by grocery stands as a child and wish I could buy something, but my family was very poor, so I could never eat outside of home. I remember having to save up coins with my brothers just so we could share a tortilla with butter as a treat. I told myself that someday I would have a grocery store so that my family would never be hungry or in need of anything. I am blessed to have the opportunity to now serve other families and make kids smile.
Has COVID-19 affected your business negatively? If so, what were the challenges?
Like every business, we did take a hit due to the pandemic, but prayer and faith go along way. We are blessed that our store is still open and thriving. We have the best customers, and we look forward to continuing to serve them.
What advice do you have for other people who are thinking about moving to the United States and possibly thinking about starting a business?
It’s hard but not impossible. You can do anything! There are no limits to what you can achieve if you have faith and work hard. I am giving my testimony that as long as you believe in yourself, you too can achieve anything. I grew up never receiving one Christmas gift because we didn’t have the money to celebrate. I slept in my baby crib until I was 14 years old because we couldn’t afford a mattress. Now, I cry thanking God daily that I can help others and provide for my family. My husband has been a big part of our success as well. He has endless love and support for our family and has never given up hope either. We make a great team. Find someone that shares your hopes and dreams so you can strive towards them together.
Do you feel welcomed in Aurora? Did you ever feel out of place?
In any city, you can sometimes feel unwanted or disliked based purely on your appearance, your accent, or your career. It’s hard sometimes because we work with a lot of people and unfortunately, not everyone is always going to enjoy your presence or be happy for you, but you have the power to use that as fuel! Don’t be afraid to be who you are; use the negativity to your advantage and push forward.
Why do you think diversity is so important in any space?
Diversity is beautiful and enriches our community. It’s important to be proud of who you are and share it with the rest of the world. Learning about different cultures and embracing it can make our community so much stronger. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and meet new people and experience new things.
How do you celebrate your culture in Aurora?
I am blessed to soon have three store fronts that embraces and welcomes diversity. Nothing makes me happier than showing others natural herbs, foods and medicine that they have never seen or heard of before. I cannot wait for the day when people are enjoying tacos and soccer games at Mi Carniceria. Bringing people together with delicious food and making new connections. I also have an amazing support system of Salvadorian women that are successful business owners in Colorado. We support each other and do our best to be a positive impact in the Latin community.