In the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago, a largely Mexican community with a two-mile corridor of small businesses, 66-year-old Eduardo Rodriguez is offering up a taste of home. His Dulcelandia stores are packed full of some 1,000 colorful treats mainly imported from his native country, including candy like Carlos V and Pulparindo and Paletas (fruit ices).
Rodriguez has built up a mini-empire of sorts with four locations in the city since launching in 1995, shortly after the North American Free Trade Agreement was enacted.
"We're fulfilling a niche market that people really wanted to buy from," says Rodriguez, who came to the U.S. in 1966 and has been a citizen for about 25 years. "People seem to really like what we are doing, and I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to do this in the United States. It takes a lot of work and sacrifice — but I recommend to everyone that they should be entrepreneurs."