Without dreamers and doers, the “American Dream” is an empty phrase. For Carlos Guizar, his American business dream started with his father and a single fruit cup stand at the Gilroy Outlets. To dream and succeed, one must have faith, a strong work ethic, and with both Guizar has high hopes for All Natural Paleteria, his new Mexican style ice cream shop that opened two weeks ago at 1120 First Street in Gilroy.
“We have Mexican-style ice cream, popsicles, fruit cups, fruit salad, yogurt, fruit juices, and lots of Mexican snacks,” Guizar said. “It’s like what we had in Michoacán.”
The types of treats at All Natural Paleteria ranges from the familiar fruit cups, popsicles, shaved ice, fruit juices, and parfait, to the exotic; like Vasolotes, a cup filled with corn, mayonnaise, sour cream and cheese.
“We have a lot of things on the menu, but many of the ingredients can be combined,” Guizar said. “There are so many different flavors of ice cream so that we can do things differently.”
Guizar’s road to First Street in Gilroy was often bumpy. At 16 Guizar started work at his father’s taqueria in San Jose, eventually working his way to starting two fruit stands on his own. After several ups and downs, Guizar found what he thought was the perfect location on First Street.
“I thought the location was perfect,” Guizar said. “It was exactly what we needed and we didn’t need to change much. The area is growing too, with the new apartment going up behind the Taco Bell.”
The fruit stands were a hit at Gilroy Premium Outlets, and with help from an international customer base, Guizar went from one fruit stand to two. Eventually, he sold enough fruit cups to open a new store on First Street.
“The only thing you could get at the Outlets were hamburgers, nothing healthy,” Guizar said. “We would see so many people from different areas, like Mexico, Asia and India. In those places people eat a lot more fruits, so we fit a niche.”
Guizar has worked to expand his budding business empire since he was a teenager working in his father’s restaurants. He formally owned a company that imported fruits from Mexico. He owns two taquerias in San Jose, along with the two fruit carts he still owns and operates at the Outlets.
“I knew I wanted to do a little more,” Guizar said. “They already did ice cream, but I wanted to expand into traditional Mexican snacks. It also took us time to redesign the store to look the way we want. We made it happen, little by little.”
For Guizar, running his restaurants and fruit carts most often mean a seven-day work week. Still, Guizar believes in family, and through his sacrifices, he does what he can do to support his wife and two children. The importance of having a close-knit family was reinforced in Guizar at an early age.
“I grew up without both my mom and dad together,” Guizar said. “While my father was running his businesses in San Jose, I moved back to Michoacan with my mother, who wanted to continue her career as a teacher.”
Guizar moved back in with his father at 15, where he split time between his father’s businesses and high school. The transition was difficult.
“When I started high school here I didn’t speak a word of English, it was tough,” Guizar said, who then spent a year in college before he stopped attending classes to go work for his father. “I went back to school years later, where I got a degree in business administration from Heald College. I wanted to show my kids the importance of finishing school.”
Guizar is still thinking about what to do next. He’s weighing the option to restart his fruit import business, or, he’d like to open his own ice cream factory. For the present though, he plans to start catering.
“What to do next is always on my mind,” Guizar said. “I have my wife Alma’s support though. She always helps me with my craziness.”
From Michoacán to San Jose, Guizar now calls Gilroy home.
“It’s cheaper here than San Jose,” Guizar said. “I like being in a small town. It feels like home.”
All Natural Paleteria is open weekdays, 10am to 9pm, and weekends, 9am to 9pm.