American Latino Magazine May 2013 - Page 23

Always Keep Your Focus On The End Result! ALM - So where did you get the idea to become an entrepreneur? Ruben I remember when I was 8 years old, my father had a booth at a swap meet in Guadalajara Mexico. He sold fruits and vegetables. I clearly remember that there were days that he would not go but we still needed the money. I would go to the swap meet asking the other vendors if they needed help selling their goods. Whether it was shoes, electronic equipment or vegetables, I never turned down the work. They knew my dad, and they knew me. If they didn’t have extra work, I would wonder the swap meets asking the rich people if they needed help carrying their baskets to their vehicles. Ruben Yes, and what’s funny I was always in the top 5 on the honor roll, but I was also on the top 5 of the principles problem children list. Go figure. My older brother Raul brought me here to America to stay with relatives of my father. I wasn’t thinking about education, I was hoping to come here and make $10,000 to take back to Mexico and open my own business at the swap meet as my father had done as a young man. per·se·ver·ance Definition: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. High School number 23 out of 400 students. I spoke no English, but was always on the honor roll. I was good in math. ALM - So what burning desire kept you in search of the American Dream? Ruben We have everything here in the United States. Education, business, culture. There are so many resources here to help you. “Losing everything, living in my car was the wake up call of my life!” Growing up hungry can either wake you up or tear you down into depression. If you live a happy grateful attitude life, things around you seem to always move in that direction. ALM - So did you go to school at all? Ruben Yes, I went to school in Mexico, but when I was in Jr. High School I got expelled. Not for fighting, doing drugs or being a trouble maker. I got expelled for not paying attention and joking around in class. I had a hard time paying attention, yet I was really smart in math. ALM - Do you think if you were here in an American school that you would be categorized as having ADD? In Mexico if you’re hungry, you’re hungry. Here if you’re hungry, you can always find somewhere to get a meal, a helping Ruben Chavez, Owner 5th Street Steakhouse hand, group or organization for assistance. Look at groups like FoodShare that help thousands of families here in ALM - So the whole entrepreneur thing Ventura County. We don’t have that in was still pulling at you corr ect? Mexico. I’m not talking about taking advantage of the system, I’m talking Ruben about assistance if you’ve experienced a Yes, at that time the dollar was very hardship and need help getting back on strong and $10,000 in Mexico was a your feet. small fortune to open a business. This was about 1987. My goal was to come here to work in Stockton building electronic devices. But my uncle stopped those thoughts right away. He said “You’re only 15 years old!!”. I will pay for you to go to high school and you won’t have to pay rent. I graduated from Port Hueneme LATINOSONLINE.COM 23 AMERICAN LATINO MAGAZINE • BRINGING PEOPLE, BUSINESS AND CULTURE TOGETHER