Success Stories

MOROVIS, PR -- For almost two decades, Edwin Ortiz has dedicated his professional life to the business of supermarkets.

In the heart of Morovis, a town with a population shy of 30,000 in the central mountainous region of Puerto Rico, Supermercados Selectos Mr. Cash serves close to 2,000 customers a day.  Its success is largely due to Edwin, who bought it from his brother Ovidio in 1995 and turned it into a service-oriented, customer-friendly shopping venue.

The supermarket wasn’t always thriving.  In fact, Ovidio acquired it at public auction in 1983, shortly after its previous owner declared bankruptcy. Ovidio saw an opportunity to re-establish the store as a profitable business and named it Mr. Cash. True to its namesake, the supermarket generated $6,000 in sales on opening day and began growing steadily, employing 30 people.  Soon after, Mr. Cash required additional space, and Ovidio moved it to a bigger commercial lot across the street. Mr. Cash had... Read More

BAYAMÓN, PR -- Jatniel Vázquez-Álvarez knows all too well the importance of hard work and the immeasurable value of family.

At 28, he has already dedicated almost half a lifetime to building a career, an enterprise and a better quality of life for those he loves.

Barely 15 years old, Jatniel began working as a refrigeration technician’s assistant at his father’s business in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, where he not only learned the trade but also all operational aspects of a business. His skill led him to graduate from the Tomás Ongay Vocational High School with a certificate in refrigeration.  About the same time Jatniel was completing his education, his father’s business took a downturn, and financial hardship settled upon the family.  Jatniel then found a job working the night shift as refrigeration technician at a multinational pharmaceutical company with operations in Fajardo, a town on the island’s east coast. 

A couple of years later, however,... Read More

SAN JUAN, PR -- There’s a quaint little shop that will make you feel as though you have just stepped into your grandmother’s kitchen. Wicker chairs and benches, embroidered dish towels and pot holders, and hand-painted teacups.

Then, the sweet yet piquant aroma of blended herbs and spices, chutneys, jams and hot sauces, laced with soft tropical music playing in the background, transport you from your grandmother’s kitchen straight into paradise. 

Hold on.  We are in paradise.

Spicy Caribbee, at 154 Cristo Street in Old San Juan, was established 22 years ago by Nereida Williams.  A former elementary school English teacher, Nereida received much of her inspiration from her mother, a hard-working woman who put her culinary talents to work, in order to satisfy the palates of her nine children.

“I have always loved the kitchen,” Nereida says.  “And, my mom is a terrific cook.  We’re not just talking rice and beans here.  She is really creative.”

Seven... Read More

DORADO, PR -- A couple of years ago, Kentucky-based BLU Pharmaceuticals’ president William ‘Bill’ Luster was on the lookout for a new solid dosage facility to manufacture generic pharmaceutical products as part of his company’s growth strategy.

Blu Pharmaceuticals, a certified minority-owned firm, focuses on the manufacturing and distribution of high quality generic pharmaceuticals at competitive prices.

Luster’s search for new business opportunities resulted in the purchasing of a 145,000 square foot production plant in Dorado, Puerto Rico that became available when generic pharmaceuticals firm Biovail decided to transfer its manufacturing operations to Steinbach, Canada, leaving hundreds of people unemployed.

“When I started looking at purchasing or building a manufacturing plant I looked in several areas of the mainland and internationally, such as New York, New Jersey, and Argentina and Brazil,” said Blu Caribe President Bill Luster.  “When I... Read More