It’s worth visiting Maribel’s abarrote (small grocery store) in San Sebastian Abasolo for your essentials – cold drinks, pasta, varieties of packaged chips and biscuits, soap and toothpaste; but make sure you time your visit for after 5pm each day. At 5pm the flatbed truck delivers freshly baked bread from Santo Domingo Tomaltepec, and as many an En Via tour group can attest to, it’s definitely worth buying this bread fresh and still-warm from Maribel.
Maribel originally sold Tupperware in Abasolo. She would sell door to door and order specific items from catalogues she left with people to look through. When her daughters were smaller, she wanted to be able to spend more time at home with them, and so Maribel and her husband started an aborrote from a room at the front of their house. They sold an old car to provide the initial capital, and now Maribel uses her loans with En Via to help stock the shelves.
Today, Maribel says that having more money available (via her En Via loans) has helped her get better prices when she buys her stock, as she is now able to buy in bulk – and receive discounts. She has big plans for the future and would like to enlarge her store into a small supermarket by removing the back wall of the store and using some of the space in her house to have more products.
The family lives down a dirt road several blocks from the church in Abasolo. Maribel’s aborrote has business competition – with another 3 abarrotes selling in her same street. She says that everyone sells pretty much the same items, however she has expanded out to include recharge cards for mobile phones. Maribel mentions this with a small smile, as she goes on to explain that when people come to buy their recharge cards, they invariably buy other goods while they are there as well.
Maribel is married with 2 daughters, Cristal and Dulce. Dulce helps her mother in the shop in the evenings after she has finished her homework, and says that her favourite part is getting the different products from behind the counter for each customer. She says she can tell what people will come in to buy now, even before they ask.
Maribel is one of En Via’s amazing women borrowers, and her gentle strength and determination is such a fantastic example for her daughters. Don’t forget to stop in for the gorgeous bread as well when you visit her in Abasolo!