When Adelo Ramirez started Los Gemelos, the Port Chester restaurant and tortilleria, he dreamed of selling his handmade, authentic tortillas in the big supermarket chains. That was 13 years ago. Today, thanks to County Executive Robert P. Astorino’s Minority and Women Business Enterprise program (MWBE), Ramirez’ dream is one step closer to reality.
“I am so proud of Adelo,” said Astorino. “There are many creative and hard working entrepreneurs in Westchester. Sometimes they just need to be connected to the right people at the right time.” That is what Jim Coleman, MWBE liaison officer, was able to do for Ramirez.
This spring, Ramirez sat down with Coleman to get his help on how to grow the sales of Los Gemelos soft shell corn tortillas. Ramirez’ previous success included serving large event venues, such as CitiField in Queens, Saratoga Raceway in upstate New York, and Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., but his food store distribution had been limited to local bodegas and small grocery stores.
Coleman was able to get Ramirez a meeting with White Plains based Krasdale Foods, one of the major grocery wholesale food retailers in the New York City Metropolitan area. The meeting resulted in Los Gemelos tortillas contracting for distribution in 12 C-Town supermarkets throughout the Westchester, Connecticut and New York City area.
“We needed a big break,” said Ramirez. “I really have to thank Mr. Astorino’s team. They not only set up the meeting, they helped prepare me for the meeting, and they went with me. I’m really thankful for how invested they are in my success.”
Minority and women business enterprises are strongly encouraged to register their business online to receive:
- A listing in the county’s MWBE database, which is utilized by the county’s departments, private contractors, and others who are looking to do business with MWBE’s
- Email notifications of business opportunities
- Special invitations to workshops, seminars and training to help your business succeed
“Part of our improved MWBE outreach is not only helping women and minority owned businesses do business with the county and the state,” said Coleman. “But it is helping to connect them with other major businesses in the county.”
As for Ramirez, the success continues. Last month, he opened a second restaurant, serving grilled and rotisserie chicken, called Pollos Al Carbon, also in Port Chester.