Maria Peña came to Watsonville from Guatemala in 1967 in order to find work. She worked for twenty years in the canneries, sorting and packing broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and other vegetables. After the canneries moved from Watsonville, Mrs. Peña obtained job skills training and worked in electronics. She also sold jewelry as a part-time job. “That’s when I thought of doing something different,” Mrs. Peña said, “I thought that I could get a small space to sell things right in Watsonville.”
Mrs. Peña’s life changed drastically after obtaining business training from El Pájaro CDC and opening her own business in Plaza Vigil. “I am my own boss now,” she said. She first opened a Boutique selling jewelry and clothing, then a Candy store; she decided to try something different because of the intense competition. In 2003 she opened the Fruteria Quetzal. “I came to Watsonville to work and I am glad to be working,” Mrs. Peña said. Fruteria Quetzal is a small store that sells all kinds of fruit products ranging from plain fruit to natural juices and bionicos, a specialty fruit salad for which the store is famous in Watsonville.
She first heard about the opportunity to open a business in Plaza Vigil from a friend who encouraged her to take a business class from El Pájaro CDC. Though she was reluctant at first, Mrs. Peña is glad she finally took the class and started her own business. “El Pájaro CDC helped me to find out where to go, how to get things, and what people to get in touch with for opening my business,” she said. She stressed the importance of getting education in business. “I still find out new things about business from El Pájaro CDC training and consultants.”
Mrs. Peña is starting another marketing plan for her store. “The most important business training is on marketing,” she said. Mrs. Peña constantly thinks about promoting her business, organizing her merchandise, and how to price her merchandise. “At first I didn’t know how to market my business but now I open up and talk with people about it; I have more confidence,” she said. Mrs. Peña is also making plans for remodeling her shop in the Plaza Vigil. “I’m at the best place. I like the way it’s going right now, I like what I am doing, everything in my store is healthy and natural; most things have no sugar added.”
Fruteria Quetzal @ Plaza Vigil, 433 Union Street Watsonville