VisionFund client Ethel at her grocery store

Spicing it Up

The business world met Ethel at the age of 26, when her mother and her aunt decided to start a restaurant at home and she became an important element of the project. The trio became very famous in the community since they also started selling in public squares and providing banquet services.

At the time, Ethel was already married and had two girls Karla and Cindy of 5 and 1 years old. Karla needed extra attention and health care since she was born with a disability. In order to get more money to pay for the appointments with neurologists, orthopedists, and genetic studies, Ethel offered craft classes in the community. “Even today, I would like to have a social company, keep up with the craft lessons and teach other women what I know.”

At age 42, Ethel went through a difficult path in life, she and her husband decided to separate and the family restaurant was closed since the women decided to give a try to a new business line that promised to be more profitable: dry goods wholesale. At the end it was still food, but the women would have more time for themselves, and the goods would have a larger timespan. With this change, Ethel also became the leader of the business. Mom and aunt were already 73 and 75 years old, the strength and energy had been left as extra ingredients in all the dishes they prepared, but all the knowledge and spirit had nurtured Ethel and she was ready to run the store.

Ethel was suddenly in an establishment at the marketplace, surrounded by colours, textures, and fragrances, by many different types of chilies, grains and spices that she knew pretty well. “The difficulty now, is that the prices vary during the year according to the dollar, but we know what goods are better for each season.” And the female domain expands as Ethel offers a full time job to two other women and two more temporary jobs during December.

With a shy smile, Ethel reveals her goals: to sell to other larger stores and to finish the second floor at home. She wants to become for her girls and for her three grandchildren a great example of hard work and perseverance just as her mother and aunt were for her. She might not know, but she has already been a great example for many women.