From Flea Market Stall to Healthy Foods Business – Meet Ana and Juan Tabares, owners of Speedy Fruit

Obstacles and Opportunities for a Healthy Foods Business

Starting your own business can seem like a series of insurmountable challenges. There are licenses, permits, business plans, merchant gateways that are not only required to get going, but essential for turning an idea into a profitable business. Ana and Juan Tabares had their vision of starting a business that would help their customers eat delicious healthy foods, specifically children. The barriers they faced in the beginning were the barriers that many immigrant entrepreneur’s face, language barriers and a lack of a road map to navigate financing, business planning, and permits. But they continued fighting and dreaming and doing and eventually they found Centro’s Basic Entrepreneurship Program where they met Lupita Nicole.

“We want to be independent, not work for anyone else,” says Ana when asked about what inspired her to start her own business. “I feel very committed to being able to change eating habits, especially in children, so that instead of eating junk food they can eat something healthy and delicious.” And this was the seed that would grow into Speedy Fruits. Ana had already earned years of experience selling in local flea markets, selling clothes, hats, jewelry, and other accessories. “The experience I have gained has helped me prepare for changes and challenges.”

And like most other aspiring entrepreneurs, Ana and Juan faced the challenge of finding capital in order to build something that was truly theirs and could truly make a difference in the health and lives of people in their community. Juan says it simply: “We are from Mexico, the language barrier and not being able to express or understand the information about permits, licenses and resources well was one of the main challenges. There was also the fear of not having enough budget to launch our business.” But Ana and Juan had a goal. They knew they needed an affordable base of operations, they knew they needed a solid business plan, and they knew that by connecting with others who have gone through this, who faced similar challenges they could learn and grow and work with others to build themselves a road map towards a successful enterprise.

Refining Their Mission and Vision and Working with Centro

“The Centro program helped us to refine our mission and vision, and provided us with the necessary tools to generate a solid business launch strategy,” says Ana. “Before participating in the program, we did not have enough knowledge about technology, Lupita helped us establish the Square reader as a form of payment for our business and finally we were able to acquire our food truck.”

During the program Ana and Juan also had the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs and Centro Small Business Advisors who were able to share what they had learned while starting and growing their own businesses. This, Ana feels, was instrumental in helping her become a successful entrepreneur, being part of a community that can support each other and learn from one another to avoid the most common pitfalls and see how others worked to overcome those seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Pride in Entrepreneurship

After graduating from the Basic Entrepreneurship Program in 2019, Ana and Juan continued to work with Lupita and were eventually able to buy a truck, which is now the base of operations for Speedy Fruits. They’ve even been able to earn enough to hire a part time person to help with the business. “We get good vibes from our family and friends, they are happy with how we have grown. And we also inspire them and teach them that things can be achieved if we want to. My kids are so proud of me and they were so happy when we bought our food truck. Thanks to Gracie Madrid and Lupita, who offer information and programs and a space for entrepreneurs.”

When asked what he most wanted other people to know about his journey towards entrepreneurship, Juan had this to say: “People should realize that it is possible to achieve their dreams, find the correct information, create solid and clear goals, educate themselves in everything related to entrepreneurship and get involved with Centro will help them fulfill their dreams.“

Business in the Time of Covid-19

During this pandemic, Ana and Juan recognize that it has been a difficult year. “Sales have decreased and there have been less events to participate in as well. It has been a very difficult year because we had high expectations for growth this year. However, we continue working and, despite the pandemic crisis, the business continues to operate and grow little by little.”  Again, the community they developed in their time with Centro helped Ana and Juan figure out a way to keep going and keep growing. Their advice to others was to “Ask for help from other entrepreneurs and organizations like Centro. Learn about the resources available to small businesses and rebuild your business vision and mission to adapt to challenges and changes.”

To see more wonderful pictures of delicious and healthy fruit dishes and find out where they are today visit Speedy Fruit’s Facebook page.