Meet the Owner of Mi Pequeña Hacienda
My name is Lorena Gallegos and I was born in Mexico in a small town called Rio Verde San Luis Potosi. My parents moved to Tijuana, Mexico when I was five, and I grew up there until I was 18. That same year I also got married and we moved to the United States. I started my married life in Kentucky and began working for a very small Mexican restaurant.
I was very excited but very frustrated because I did not know the language. You could hardly see any Latinos in Kentucky so I challenged myself every day to learn at least one phrase in English. I was very happy that every time I would approach customers, I felt I was so welcome and I was so humbled. I asked them to please correct me if I did not spoke the language the correct way.
I have to say, I had a lot of fun, and a lot of people helped me. I made a decision not to ever be offended if they did correct me. Then my life got turned upside down and I ended up facing a divorce. With no family around, and as a single mother of one at the time, I had to face life. I decided to keep working hard and keep learning about the restaurant industry.
A few years later I met my second husband who had just come from Mexico, a very hard-working man. I was an assistant manager at that time and we both decided to save money and open our own business. That vision came alive in 1991, when we opened “Rincon Mexicano” on Euclid Ave. It was not easy, but with a lot of sacrifices and consistency on serving authentic Mexican food we became very successful, so much so that we opened other businesses in other states. Our second location was at 3501 Lansdowne Dr.
A few years later I ended up facing another tragedy; my husband passed away in a tragic accident. Now with two kids, and a single mother again, and with a lot of responsibility I had to get going with my life. Two years later I got married again to a wonderful man named Julian Gallegos and we decided to sell our other restaurants so we could focus on only two businesses.
We also decided to change the restaurant’s name to “Mi Pequeña Hacienda”, which means (my little village). We have faced a lot of challenges, but I am very grateful and very blessed that we have an excellent team working for us. We have to give them credit too! We consider them as part of our family and we really appreciate their hard work, and of course with a good leadership. We manage two restaurants and have employed over 125 people to this day.
If you want to live the American dream, you can achieve it! Just be persistent no matter what happens or what obstacles come your way. This country is the land of opportunities. Since the first day I came here, everybody has made me and my family feel very welcomed and loved. I am blessed by God first and I am very thankful to all the people that support us as a local business, especially throughout the hard times like this last one that we are all experiencing. My life lesson is: work hard and do not be intimidated by anything. Put others first and you will succeed in life. You can achieve anything you want!
Lorena A. Gallegos
About the Author: Lorena A Gallegos is the owner of Mi Pequeña Hacienda. Lorena shares her personal story with us as part of our celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month.