Mercadito Raices is a hit at the Latino Festival!!!!
Mercadito Raices is a hit at the Latino Festival!!!!

In its second year, Mercadito Raíces, a Latino food business incubation program of our Latino Center hosted 5 vendors at the Latino Festival, August 11th and 12th in downtown Columbus, Ohio at Genoa Park. The Mercadito Raíces program is a 5 month training program where Latino food vendors turn their business idea into reality. During the training participants learn all aspects of business from licenses and permits, marketing, budgeting, food costs, pricing and more. The final phase of the program is participating as a vendor in the Latino Festival. This serves as a temporary incubator and allows participants to learn the sales process and validate their business idea. Participants also benefit from recognition by consumers in the marketplace.

This year participants not only learned from the trainings, they also learned how to cope with the rain and the challenges that come with it!  This year’s participants were full of energy, fun, and came prepared to fulfill the tummy needs of the Festivals attendees!  Together between sales, payroll, new equipment purchases and food cost, this year participants were able to infuse $39,411.00 into our local economy. AND… stopped by to say hi. Check out our write up on!

The Lemon King and Snow Cones had a very successful debut at the Festival bringing deliciously flavored lemonades to the crowd and colorful snow cones for the little ones!   Despite the rain on Saturday and Sunday Yunier Macola was satisfied with his first participation and his biggest take away from being there is understanding the festival customers and its competitors, for next year he plans to invest more on Marketing to improve his presence in the Festival. Visit The Lemon King on Facebook at thelemonkingflavors.



DNadia’s Catering and Events had another successful participation selling out completely on Sunday, Nadia de Jesus was very pleased to know that she has established a following in the Latino Community with her catering and always delicious empanadas, she introduced a Pastelon de Yuca a traditional Caribbean dish that was a hit this year with her customers. Visit DNadia’s Catering and Events on Facebook at DNADIASCATERING



Pepito’s Bar and Grill amazed us with its delicious one of a kind Venezuelan sandwiches and Tequeños (cheese fingers), Rafael Aguilar was happy he sold out of the traditional Tequeños and the introduction into the market and recognition received by the festival attendees.  He biggest take away from this process was learning to do business the American way, the laws and regulations and to be compliant from day one. (facebook page coming soon!)



Solo Merengues was pleased to see an increase of Latino clients to purchase her beautiful and delicious Merengue desserts, most Latin countries are familiar with Merengues but not use to eating with fresh fruit and cream, transforming this traditional dessert into a refreshing dessert.  Cecilia Osorio biggest take away from participating in the program this year is the cooperation of all the member participating with each other. Visit Solo Merengues on Facebook at Solomerengues



Mango Mango was so excited to participate and had a great experience that they are ready to participate in 3 upcoming local events as they discovered the right team full of energy and enthusiasm with their customers. They had a variety of items from ice cream, Aguas Frescas, popsicles and so many other Mexican treats that is easy to find something for every member of the family. Visit Mango Mango on Facebook at El Music-ON Latino



We thank our program sponsors Fifth Third Bank and Development Services Agency and our community partners CAPA, Team Fishel and Columbus State Community College for supporting Mercadito Raices.

We’ll see you next year!