When Elizabeth Garcia moved to Asheville, she was shocked by the lack of Latin American food options. And seeing an opportunity to fill a niche in the market, she fulfilled a dream of opening up her own business.
Beginning with cooking Alfajores, dulce de leche sandwich cookies, in her home kitchen, Garcia started Delish to provide Latin American flavors to the community. Delish began making Latin American food for customers that was frozen and prepared to make at home, and the business received substantial loyalty and support from the community as it continued to grow. “There wasn’t enough space to store our small inventory in our fridge, so we had to take out our groceries to make room,” says Garcia. “As time passed, we continued bringing a more extensive variety of products and sampling our products to relatives. The positive reactions we received from the samples motivated us to keep growing.”
Even during the COVID pandemic, Delish was able to move forward thanks to that community that helped get it off the ground running. “Despite the pandemic, the community supported us by ordering our products,” says Garcia. “We are so delighted to see the reactions of our clients when they try our products. Our clients have remained loyal to us, and for that we continue growing.”
With that growth did come some challenges, though, as starting a new business was uncharted waters for Garcia. She got connected with the Western Women’s Business Center (WWBC), which helped her hone in on how to grow Delish. “The biggest obstacle was a need for more information about the basics of business,” says Garcia. “Through networking, I met the WWBC and Zurilma Anuel, the WWBC Director. WWBC gave us a lot of information that helped us strategize how to grow our business.”
Along with the technical assistance provided by WWBC, Garcia was a recipient of the Appalachian Community Capital grant administered by Carolina Small Business Development Fund through the WWBC. “The grant we were given was used to buy another refrigerator, allowing us to improve our inventory space to better serve our customers,” says Garcia.
The connection to WWBC helped Garcia to turn a dream into a reality. “Any dream, even a small one, with the right information and the right people around you can come true,” says Garcia.