It’s difficult to miss the bright yellow bicycle cart parked on the main market street of this Mexican city called Tehuacán, and that is Pedro Melchor’s hope. Every part of this stand has been created with his customers in mind, and the yellow color attracts plenty of attention, even on a busy street. A hand drawn sign advertises fresh juices and Mexican specialties like agua de jamaica (Hibiscus tea) and horchata, a sweet rice drink.
Pedro comes from a family of vendors and, after working for many years selling coat hangers, he decided to start his own business. He purchased a small bicycle cart and began selling fruit juices around the city. When he married a few years later, his wife, Maria Elena, joined him at the cart, working from early morning into the evenings. Over the years, they have come to see their business as the means to provide a better future for themselves and their children.
Since taking his first loan of 2,000 pesos (about U.S. $160) from Accion partner CrediConfía several years ago, Pedro has been able to offer a wider variety of food and drinks. And, with the profits that have followed, he invested in two additional carts. Pedro has also made ongoing improvements, optimizing every available spot on his cart. He recently added a small grill and a frying pan to make sandwiches and rigged up a small faucet for a hand washing station. In the winter (lasting just two months a year in this part of Mexico), Pedro sells hot drinks such as coffee and hot chocolate. When asked about the meaning of his loans, he answers quickly, “The loan hasn’t only benefitted me; it has benefitted my family, too.”
Pedro’s motivation to build a thriving business comes into clear focus as he talks more about his family, especially his three school-age children, who sometimes join him at the carts to learn the intricacies of the trade. Through their hard work, Pedro and his wife have carefully built their business with their family’s future in mind. Though he’d be happy to have his children follow in his footsteps, Pedro is supportive of any career path they choose to follow.
Their hope is one day to expand their business to a small storefront in the area. Whatever they decide to do, it is clear that the legacy they will leave is not only the material support of a business or livelihood, but the dignity and knowledge to run it successfully.