Sara D. Vasquez was born in Cúcuta Norte de Santander, Colombia. At the age of 18, Sara came to the United States, along with her mother, to make a change in her life that would benefit her and her yet, unborn child. The two arrived in Miami and began to work various jobs before relocating to Philadelphia to join extended family. In Philadelphia, Sara began working for her cousin, the previous owner of Express Graphics and Printing. It was here where Sara realized she had a natural affinity for business sales.
By the time Sara had her first child, she knew she wanted to make a good life for herself and her daughter. She then recognized that owning a business could be the way to achieve her dreams.
When the cousin’s family decided to move out of the United States, they offered Sara an opportunity to purchase Express Graphics and Printing. This was an offer she couldn’t refuse. Sara successfully operated the business for 11 years, however, when COVID hit, it took the wind out of everyone’s sales, and Sara was forced to move the printing business to her home for a year.
As businesses began opening again, Sara decided to find a location where she could own the property where the business would be housed. She found an excellent property that not only had professional office space but also included residential apartments for additional income.
So, at the suggestion of a financial advisor at Impact Loan Fund, a Philadelphia-based Community Development Financial Institution, Sara contacted True Access Capital (TAC). Her loan officer at TAC, Lorenzo Merino, assisted her in preparing the documents and completing all the requirements for the business loan. “The best part was that he spoke Spanish,” said Sara. “He had a checklist and explained every step of the process clearly.”
The new location on busy Rising Sun Avenue in North Philadelphia is situated in a thriving business environment that includes repair shops, restaurants, hair, and nail salons.
“Our business is different from the others, and we bring something new to the community. Plus, we offer the local business community the graphics and marketing services they need,” said Sara. “They are happy to have us here.”
Now a U.S. citizen, Sara has her eyes set on expanding the business to additional locations in other states. She has built a loyal customer base in New Jersey, the Pocono Mountains and even Florida. She says that in five years or so, she wants to establish new Express Printing and Graphics offices in these locations, where she already has customers.
Now the daughter, who was the impetus for it all, is 12 years old, was joined by another sibling three years ago. These children will be able to look to their mother, who immigrated to this country, purchased a business, invested in real estate, and made for them that better life that she foresaw. Won’t they be proud!