5 Hispanic Entrepreneurs Who Persevered to Build Successful Businesses

Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 is in the books. It has been a volatile year, but Hispanic business owners press on and Latín Biz Today revisits five prominent ones.

Hispanic Entrepreneur Yields a Taste of Success

The grapevine has long been an integral part of Amelia Ceja’s life.

At age 12, Amelia left her village in the Mexican state of Jalisco to join her father, Felipe Morán, in Napa Valley. Morán had immigrated to Northern California to serve as foreman at Robert Mondavi’s then fledgling vineyard.

It was far from glamorous.  “They were living in a barn, and desperately needed a job,” she says of her father and other Mexican workers under Mondavi’s employ. To help make ends meet, Amelia went to work harvesting grapes immediately upon her 1967 arrival at the Mondavi estate. She befriended other children who had left Mexico for “El Norte,” among them Pedro Ceja and his brother, Armando.

From the moment she arrived, Amelia knew that her future was steeped in wine.  “The dream of having vineyards of our own was born the day we first experienced tasting the grapes,” she says. “In Mexico we were farmers, and that same tradition was brought over here. It wasn’t legumes, of course. It was grapes. We had no idea… Read more

Another Latina Small Business Recipe for Success

Lilia Rojas, Latina entrepreneur, and owner of La Flor de Jalisco bakery has achieved success

Lilia Rojas takes an almost literal approach to running her business: the positive meaning of having her cake and eating it to. Perhaps that’s why her 14-year-old Mexican bakery, La Flor de Jalisco, Port Chester, New York, in Westchester County, has done so well, including during the economic downturn that began in 2008. She attributes this success to having both a wide variety of well-crafted Mexican cakes, breads and pastries as well as above-and-beyond customer service. As she notes, “I’ve been to so many places where the product is excellent but the customer service isn’t. Then you go to other places where the product isn’t great but the customer service is. I believe you need both to keep people coming back through the doors.” Read more

Hispanic Business Rooted in Passion and Tradition

This successful Hispanic food industry business developed its product line from family tradition.

La Doritas dulce de leche is an all-natural, preservative free, homemade spread made with fresh-from-the-farm milk provided by local creameries in Pennsylvania. This authentic Argentinean recipe is a treat for the whole family.

In 2009, Josephine and Gaston Oria wanted to share Josephine’’s grandmother’’s recipe with the world, and they took the steps to make their dream a reality.

The guiding forces behind the creation of La Doritas dulce de leche were a passion for baking and keeping a family tradition alive.

This Hispanic business journey of La Dorita began more than forty years ago when Josephine Orias’s adventurous father, Oliver, and mother, Beatriz, left their home country of Argentina in 1974; a country they loved, but believed had… Read more

A Family’s Entrepreneurial Journey Began in Cuba

The legacy of this Latino entrepreneurial spirit was passed down to Domingo’s grandson and Juilo René’s son, René.

Many years before Díaz Foods became the largest distributor of Hispanic products in the United States, the Díaz family patriarch, Domingo Díaz, was a successful entrepreneur in Cuba. Domingo owned a great deal of land and two large cattle ranches and the family enjoyed their success and their beautiful country.

In 1966, several years after the Cuban Revolution, Domingo left Cuba and headed to the US alone to get settled and establish a life for himself and his family. Domingo settled in Atlanta where he worked as a janitor. A year or so after he arrived in the US, Domingo’s family arrived in Atlanta. The drive to give his Hispanic family a wonderful life pushed Domingo to look for new opportunities. Díaz Foods began in 1970 when Domingo, after much saving and sacrifice, bought the first of several small grocery stores… Read more

A Third Generation Latin Business Success Story

Family-owned Latin business manufacturer Ruiz Foods has secured the #1 brands in their respective categories.

Ruiz Foods is one of the largest manufacturer of frozen Mexican food in the United States. The company’s story is largely that of father and son co-founders Frederick R. Ruiz and his father Louis, a Mexican immigrant who, at age five, fled Pancho Villa with his family in the middle of the night.

Together they would establish Ruiz Foods in 1964 in Dinuba, California. Their dream was to create a company that would generate millions in sales over the duration of their lifetimes. As of a few decades ago, annual sales of their frozen food products such as burritos, tamales and enchiladas has more than quadrupled. Ruiz currently manufactures nearly 200 different food products, ranking second among the top 10 Hispanic-owned manufacturing firms in the US, as well as first among the top ten US Hispanic-owned companies in the State of California.

While this Latino business evolved and grew, so did family’s commitment to their employees and surrounding communities. “It’s our corporate responsibility to do what we can to make the world a better place,” explains Fred Ruiz. Read more

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