When I was a kid my dad was always walking around with a video camera. I am very grateful because we have many immortalized memories that we can run the tape on. We have a recording of a beautiful memory that stands out in my mind.
It was the summer of 1992, I was about 6 years old. We had just left the states and Moved to Mexico....to where my mother's family was from. In the video we are at my Grandfather's house in a farming community in Rural Central Mexico. When I say rural, I mean rural. To get there it took many miles of lonely and empty highways... then more miles of stone and gravel backroads , finally to the dirt roads of El Rancho de La Linea. At the time full of corn fields and orange groves and butterflies thousands of butterflies.
In the video, you can see me walking across the screen with a big sack slung over my shoulder that looked like it weighed more than I did. You hear my father call out, "Jairito, what have you got there?"
I respond, in my embarrassingly high pitched 6 year old voice. "Mandarinas,I am going to sell them!"
Behind me across the screen Wencho Junior follows me and says, "hey those are my dad's!"
"No they're not!...my mom said the land they're growing on belonged to her grandfather... they are mine too!" The sack was full of Mandarin Oranges that I had without permission picked from a property that belonged to an estranged relative Don Wencho, WENCHO SENIOR, who had been the winner of an old inheritance battle, as happens, inherited the land. Wenchillo, his son played with my young uncle and his friends my uncle was younger than me. The youngest of my grandfather's 15 children or so.
My goal was to sell the oranges, and I did sell them over in a more developed town by the name of Cardenas, where we were staying. Cardenas was a very picturesque place. We lived in an old Spanish style townhome. We had a tin roof with exposed wooden rafters. In this town of Cardenas I had another business, besides selling stolen oranges. In our kitchen, these big birds would fly in and get stuck and I would catch them and clip their wings. I kept these birds in a sort of chicken coup in the back yard. I somehow found a market for these birds. Apparently they were thought to have medicinal properties, or maybe they just made a good soup!
When we ended up moving back to the States and eventually made our way to Georgia. Like many children of immigrants, we were taught to work hard work was life and a good man was a hard working one. Me being the oldest son, I was going to be a hard working man.
In Georgia my father with his strong work ethic had quickly become the production manager of a construction company that had started with him working side by side with the owners to sitting behind a desk with his broken English, managing the work of almost 100 Tradesmen. At 14 My father made me work summers at this construction company and unwilling to look like he was showing favoritism, had me start with the most difficult work. The crew leads would tell me, "your dad says we have to put you on the tallest ladder today" or "... your dad says to make sure you earn your pay." If I made a mistake he would admonish me heavily in front of the other guys. I was used to the worse at home so it did not bother me.
Later on, while I was in college I worked there at the same company as a sales rep and field estimator. I earned my degree in business with the goal of one day owning my own business. When I graduated it only made sense for me to start with doing what I know. My father and I started a company. We worked at it for many years. I invested time and also my heart. I can honestly say that I put all of my blood sweat and tears into the business. This company at the end of 2019 had 4 full time sales reps and impressive revenues.
Unfortunately as it turns out happens often in father and son businesses, my father and I had a falling out in the summer of 2020. It was a bitter falling out and not without a fight, I was bought out. I felt I had lost a part of myself. The business was more mine than his but unfortunately not on paper.
Not being one to lose momentum, I jumped out there and started another company. As of today I can say we have started strong. I just hired my first sales rep and we are growing aggressively. The future is bright. It was never my goal to stay in this industry but I have found it lucrative.... and the opportunity cost of changing businesses has kept me in this industry.
I have always had an interest in business, I've always wanted to be my own boss and my experience growing up the child or immigrants has taught me to have a strong work ethic, resilience and an optimistic spirit. All crucial components in business and entrepreneurship.
I am happy to be in business. I enjoy solving problems and the challenge of overcoming the obstacles that it takes to build a company. My goal is to grow this company until I can't grow it any further or until I can step into a faster growing and more scalable business.
Today I am 35 years old and I can say with confidence that I am a business man.
Yanover Jairo Blanco