Maria, Business Development

Maria, Business Development

El Mercadito Merchant Profile

Client: Maria de Lourdes Rodriguez, Bernal Heights, San Francisco
MEDA Business Development Program Coach: Alexander Ankrom
El Mercadito Store: Lourdes Boutique
Services/Items: Blankets, quilts, drapes, religious dolls and home adornments

Why did you want to start your own business?
I have been married for 41 years and have never had financial independence. I always had a dream of starting my own business, so this was the answer of how not to rely financially on my husband. He has a family business–a car shop. I wanted something for myself.

What did you learn at MEDA’s Business Development Program?
I first needed my personal finances put in order, especially my credit score. MEDA worked on my own financial capability before advising on the business itself. Once it came to the business, I learned how to organize my store and to see what sells and what doesn’t sell—market trends. I was set up with a point-of-sale system and linked to Square to be able to process credit card payments. This was important, because Americans tend to use their credit card more than cash.

What were the main difficulties in starting a small business?
There were some obstacles, but I believe MEDA’s help and my passion for starting a business and making it successful helped me overcome any issues.

What products sell the most?
That depends on the time of year. When it is colder, I sell more blankets. Baby items are popular. I also sell a fair amount of candy, partly to the children of other El Mercadito shopkeepers.

Where do you see your business being in five years?
I want to see my business be bigger and to be established in the community, preferably in the Mission. I would like to hire employees, especially ones who live in the community. Thanks to MEDA, my business dream is coming true.