We started with beer — a beer distributor to be exact. It wasn’t where I expected to find myself first thing in the morning in Mexico City. I came to spend a day seeing how our portfolio company Tienda Pago works and getting to know some of their clients. Wholesale suppliers, like the one I was visiting, help educate clients about Tienda Pago’s credit product, a short-term loan that allows the store owner to purchase quick turn-around items for peak activity. By leveraging existing supply chains, Tienda Pago can more easily reach new clients, evaluate creditworthiness, and distribute funds to help businesses become more profitable.
Throughout the day I got to see exactly what credit from Tienda Pago means for clients. All of the businesses we visited were in Tláhuac, one of the poorer areas of Mexico City. The people I met shared their stories — including the ups and downs of running a business — and told me how having financial support from Tienda Pago empowers them.
Miguel Velasquez started his restaurant over a decade ago. Like many other microentrepreneurs I spoke with, he had always distrusted banking institutions — but his experience with Tienda Pago has been positive. In the year that he’s been a client, he’s used the service more than 10 times and even built his credit to be eligible for higher loans. Funding from Tienda Pago helps keep the restaurant afloat during the week when business is slow and allows Miguel to stock up on inventory for the weekend, when sales pick up.
When Paulo Barrientos opened his store in 1996, he was able to use his savings instead of taking out a loan. The store started small, then expanded, but business in his quiet neighborhood can be fickle, and he had to reduce his business again. Paulo runs the shop on his own, and it’s his only source of income to support his family. Even though business isn’t as good as it once was, it still booms on the weekends, when crowds flock to soccer games across the street from the shop. Tienda Pago helps him stay stocked up so he can make the most of those busy times.
When her husband lost his job, Cristina Chavarría leaped into action to help make ends meet and take care of their daughter. She decided to open a small neighborhood store, and she and her husband used their savings and a loan to get their business off the ground. With the income from the shop, they were able to support themselves, purchase their house and store, and buy school supplies for their daughter. Unfortunately, they mismanaged their finances and their credit was damaged. Recently, business had been slowing down, and Cristina didn’t have many options due to her credit history. She heard about Tienda Pago and got a small loan to purchase a few key products for the store. She’s grateful that Tienda Pago helped her rebuild her business and her credit. Keeping her store thriving is particularly important for Cristina since her daughter will take over the shop for her own family eventually.
Maria del Socorro de Ortiz
Maria del Socorro de Ortiz used a loan from her husband’s job to open a small window shop in front of her home more than 15 years ago. She had worked for street vendors and later in shops, and now it was her turn to run her own business. When her husband retired, she expanded the store to support her family. You can tell Maria takes pride in her store by the warm smiles she gives the nearby school children who come in to buy candy. Maria relies on Tienda Pago to purchase enough inventory to cover the ebbs and flows of her business. When she’s not running her shop, Maria is planning for the future and helping her daughter start her own business, a taqueria.
Elvia Cruz beams behind the counter of the business she has run for more than 27 years. She started it as a small window shop. As her business grew, she opened up a store in front of her home. She didn’t depend on any loans to launch her business, but times are harder now than when she first started. Tienda Pago helps her weather the ups and downs of running a small business. She hopes to expand and set up tables so she can start selling food and drinks. Thanks to Tienda Pago’s support, she feels optimistic about her future and her family.