Aracely sells a range of items at her store in Omaha, Nebraska—everything from jewelry to electronics. With 13 microloans—and counting—from Grameen America, she has been able to expand her inventory and sell an even wider variety. She first joined Grameen America eight years ago because she saw it as a good opportunity to start her own business, and she appreciated the low interest-rate loans Grameen offered.
Aracely moved to the United States when she was 21. Before opening her store, she worked at a meat packing factory. It was difficult work, with long hours and low pay. She knew she wanted to do something else, so she saved up and eventually was able to quit her job and start her own business.
Her husband, Jose, has always supported her and her entrepreneurial dreams, and he occasionally helps her out in the store. They have two children, Brando and Yaretzi. Brando is 13 and almost in high school; Yaretzi is still in elementary school. The children are enrolled in a dual-language program, English and Spanish, which will expand their education and future employment prospects. Aracely inspires her children by continuing to work hard and grow her business.
As she expands the store, Aracely is now more focused on marketing. She set up a website to promote her business and attract customers. She also has a built-in customer-base from the other members of her Grameen America center. The other members make purchases from her store, and they also recommend her store to their friends. And she does the same for them, frequenting their businesses.
Aracely says that her life has been transformed since she stopped working in the factory, devoted herself to her store, and joined Grameen America. Her credit score has improved, which has opened the door for her to take out a loan from a traditional bank. However, she wants to continue to get loans from Grameen America, partly because of its low interest rate, but mostly because it gave her an opportunity when others wouldn’t. “Other companies don’t believe in poor people,” she said. “But Grameen does. They helped me start my business, changing my life in the process.”