Frappe mania

Frappe mania
By: Jomayra Báez

It’s 1pm and is very hot in the western area of Puerto Rico, chatting with my friends we discussed how we could freshen up because the heat was stifling. One of my friends said that in the town of Añasco we could visit a “guaguita” (mini truck) specialized in doing frappe.
We left the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus to take the route to. Ironically the place is called Don Frappe.
Don Frappe is not far from the university, on Highway #2 near Añasco’s Wendys.
The place is a trailer with some modifications adequate to have the full capacity to prepare all kinds of Frappe.
The business has a variety of flavors starting with fresh fruit to candy frappes such as Nutella, Kit Kat, Tronki, among others.
As soon as we reached the place we were greeted with a pleasant smile and a warm welcome from the owner of the place, Edwin Tirado.
Mr. Tirado and his spouse are both students from the University of Puerto Rico. The Idea of Don Frappe came when they had the need to establish a good income source for economic reasons and because of their new challenge to become student’s parents.
He told me that he was half done with studies at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) in Mayagüez when Pamela, his partner got pregnant. Then they started to raise ideas of various ways to earn money while continuing their studies, which the best one was self-employment.
“Don Frappe arose because of our needs, like every good idea. We were young university students, started a family and it could not work for anybody because of the strong commitment required to work and finish a college degree “said Edwin.
We must keep in mind that in Puerto Rico is difficult to find work, specially a half-time job for 2 parents. According to the Department of Labor and Human Resources unemployment rate remains high, much more when it comes to self-employment.
Their first shot was a self micro business were they prepared cakes and sold them on weekends near a mall while they could afford to move to Mayagüez. At the same time they sent a proposal to the nonprofit organization “Social Action” which provides funds for small businesses.
Their project was approved, receiving $ 13, 680 that were assigned after a while. Tirado family started the business of selling frappes with only 1,000 Grandma Tirado borrow them to buy a small car.
“The first day we started we had only $ 13 and we sold $ 150 and just like that we started to see how it was growing slowly.”
Soon with the increased workload, it was required the help of more employees. They currently have about 15 people working with them. Some college students, other young parents that were unemployed. Older workers are also a valuable part of the company because of the experience they bring to the workforce.
“Not everything has been pink color in our business,” commented Tirado. We were fooled the first time we hired an agency. After handing the money for the process to apply for licenses to open for business, the person hired disappeared taking the money with him.
“It is convenient for all to be self-employed, but there are many people who start and quit because it is difficult to reach the required permissions.” By December 2011 we were sued, although we had permission to operate the locals of the zone were upset by the amount of people who came daily to buy frappes. We had to close, but found a new larger space, with the ability to extend the current business and have a parking lot to make it more comfortable for the clients.
At some point they lost hope to move forward with their project, but with the constant support they received from the public the project successfully surfaced.
He says that the key to its success lays in the close treatment for people, love for what you do, the desire to help others, to have the perseverance to fight for what they dreamed.

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