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Success Stories

 “Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.”—Hippocrates

It takes a special kind of person to offer a healing touch to someone suffering from a chronic or catastrophic disease.  To nearly 4,000 individuals in Puerto Rico, that person is Enid Santiago-Aponte. 

Born in New York City, Santiago arrived in Puerto Rico at the age of four, and was raised in her parents’ hometown of Florida –the last town on the island to be named a municipality.  Santiago knew she wanted to be a pharmacist since she was in the seventh grade and in 1987, after graduating from the School of Pharmacy of the University of Puerto Rico’s Medical Sciences Campus in Río Piedras, she provided a government-required year of public service as a pharmacist to the Manatí Area Hospital. 

“I met medical sales representatives on a daily basis,” Santiago says.  “Two months before I completed my service, one of them suggested that I would be good in that field, and I went... Read More

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