INDIANAPOLIS — Along North Keystone Avenue, the festive décor of Paco’s Taqueria helps tell a unique story.
“So many challenges, but also it has a little bit of me back then,” said CEO Seni Gonzalez.
Gonzalez was only 14 when she came to the U.S. from Mexico for family and opportunity. When she first settled in, she was living in Chicago, but eventually came to Indiana a short time after.
It was when she started working as a sales executive that she realized another calling.
“I had this thing calling my name saying ‘hey you have to be an entrepreneur’,” she said.
Using all of her savings and with help from a friend, Gonzalez took a leap of faith and opened Paco’s Taqueria in 2014. While it’s been a dream come true, it’s one that didn’t come without its share of challenges.
“I started by myself, just me, and one cooker, and another friend, kind of as a part-timer,” she said.
In the beginning, Gonzalez said it was often her and her small team taking orders and working the kitchen, starting from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. As a single mother to 3 at the time, she said there were a lot of sacrifices to help provide her family.
“A lot of challenges, but very beautiful moments of growth,” she said.
Today, Paco’s has grown in not only staffing but as a storefront, Gonzalez said they’ve since expanded to three locations.
“We have been making Paco’s a good brand that we are being recognized by a lot of people, and I’m following my vision of one day to become nationwide,” she said.
In light of Hispanic Heritage Month and looking back on her journey, Gonzalez said she’s proud of the strides Paco’s has made as not only a business but also as an opportunity to help others.
“The thing that makes me so happy and excited is not only that we are working to have amazing and authentic tacos, but also how we can help our team members to become directors, to become leaders and to work on that person that they don’t even know that they have inside,” she said.
Personally, Gonzalez said she’s thankful to make a life in America and within a community that’s embraced her vision. She hopes her story of pushing forward through changes and challenges can inspire people to also pursue their passions.
“Just focus on what you want, follow that direction, and God is going to get us somehow to where we actually want to be,” she said.