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Nebraska couple working together to run 2 family businesses

By NATALIE SAENZJune 2, 2019

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — “The important thing for any type of business is working together with your partner and family.”

This is what Pedro Leon, owner of Auto Servicio Leon, said of how he has successfully managed his vehicle repair shop with his sons for 10 years, The Grand Island Independent reported.

Having immigrated from Michoacan, Mexico, 20 years ago, Pedro and his wife, Hilda Leon, came to the United States with the dream of creating a home and family. Pedro and Hilda work jointly to manage Auto Servicio Leon and Mena’s Kitchen. Hilda’s food truck, Mena’s Kitchen, is parked in front of Pedro’s repair shop. Hilda has managed Mena’s Kitchen for about three years with the assistance of her daughter-in-law, Alejandra Erives.

Pedro and Hilda Leon have four sons: Pedro Leon Jr., Jose Noel Leon, Eduardo Leon and Gerardo Leon. Two of the sons work with Pedro in the repair shop, while Erives works with Hilda in the food truck.

Along with four sons and one daughter-in-law, Pedro and Hilda have two granddaughters: Ariana and Ximena Leon. Hilda’s food truck, Mena’s Kitchen, was actually named after their first granddaughter Ximena.

Pedro and Hilda said that with the support of their family, their businesses have successfully collaborated through discipline, persistence and consistency.

“When we think of a business, we think of it long-term and slowly develop it,” Pedro said. “Sometimes the hardest part is the first step, but the next step is easier.”

Before owning his repair shop, Pedro worked as a mechanic at other locations. Meanwhile, Hilda worked as a cook for 18 years at Sanchez Plaza before opening Mena’s Kitchen. Pedro and Hilda said that they came to the United States with the idea of working and making a living.

Pedro said the biggest challenge with being a business owner has been the language barrier and having to rely on his sons to translate for him from Spanish to English. However, before his sons were old enough to translate for him, Pedro said he would try his best to communicate in English using signs.

“I have learned English words and phrases that have to do with my job task,” said Pedro. “You learn anything that you want to learn.”

Hilda said one of her biggest challenges was the language barrier and she would often worry about being left alone with the business. As with the language barrier, Hilda said she also felt the responsibilities of a business when she started Mena’s Kitchen and having to manage expenses and services. She said it’s not easy, but at the same time it’s not impossible.

“We can’t stay doing nothing because if you don’t do anything, you have nothing,” Hilda said. “If you start to work and advance in your job, you at least have something for your kids.”

Pedro and Hilda said they have recently gotten customers from diverse backgrounds and are thankful for all of the people who come and contribute to their businesses. To them, customers are their number one focus because they depend on the help of consumers.

“We are in a great country of many opportunities,” Pedro said. “I am grateful with God and this country because we have achieved what we have never had before.”

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Information from: The Grand Island Independent, http://www.theindependent.com

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