When it comes to diesel engines and the vehicles they power, Alfredo Garcia is a bonafide expert. But when it came to the business side, taxes, payroll, licenses, permits and such, Garcia was lost.
That’s when he approached El Pájaro CDC for help with marketing, business strategy, loan applications, and more.
“We were starting from scratch, I didn’t know anything. How to pay sales tax, to get the licenses, then someone told me you should go talk to this guy at El Pájaro CDC,” says Garcia about starting his own shop in 2009. “They helped us a lot. We started from ZERO, there was no equipment. I invested $60,000 of my own money and little by little by little we built up our income. Now we have enough income to apply for a loan.”
Working with El Pájaro CDC, Garcia was able to secure a $1 million loan for new construction since he had lost the lease on his previous location and would have lost his business without it. Garcia’s case is a prime example of how, in addition to starting and expanding small businesses, El Pájaro CDC is able to help small businesses build assets for their families and community.
In 2014, Garcia was the winner of the Faces of Entrepreneurship award from California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity (CAMEO).
Garcia studied diesel technology at Hartnell College, then started working at Salinas Valley Ford as a diesel technician. He moved to International Trucking in Watsonville, which specialized in diesel vehicles, especially farm and agricultural trucks.
After two years there he started working at Monte Vista Christian School in Watsonville, taking care of their fleet of vehicles. He spent eight years at the school, when he was told that International Trucking had gone out of business, leaving an empty shop and a vacancy in the diesel engine repair and maintenance business in Watsonville.
The first few years in business was difficult, but with the help of El Pájaro CDC, Garcia was not only able to expand his business, but help local youth get technical training and experience.
Garcia pays it forward by conducting mini-training sessions with local high school students who are recommended by their teachers. He trains about a dozen students a year, and he has hired two youths who completed their technical schooling and returned to work in their community.
“I want to give back, I want to help the community if I can,” Garcia told the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. “I like helping people.”