Our ChiBuys program supports minority and women-owned food vendors in the Chicagoland area and reflects 1871’s wider efforts to promote greater diversity and inclusion in the community. We thought we'd interview some of our participating vendors to hear their stories and preview their delicious dishes. Today, we chat with Eve Rodriguez Montoya, Vice President of Brand Strategy at Dulcelandia Candy Stores, about diversity, entrepreneurship, and mouthwatering Mexican treats.
Eve Rodriguez Montoya shows off some 1871 swag at the ChiBuys Winter Tasting
- How does community play a role in your business?
The Little Village, Brighton Park, Logan Square, and McKinley Park communities are where we are located and they all play a huge role in our business. We play an active role in our community, we employ people from our community, and we always look for new ways to give back to our community.
- What makes Chicago a great place to build a business?
Chicago is a great place to build a business because it is a global city, a diverse city, and a welcoming city. All of those factors make Chicago a great place to introduce new products to new customers.
- When was your greatest moment of doubt, and how did you push through?
I think my greatest moment of doubt came when we added Yogolandia Yogurt and Botana Bar to our Dulcelandia Candy Store brand because frozen yogurt wasn't necessarily available in Latino flavors at the time, and I wasn't sure how well it would do. I'm happy to report that this new concept has grown more and more popular every day.
- What or who are your influences?
My influences Mexico, the Mexican community, and all of my family and friends.
- What's one thing on your menu we have to try?
There are actually two things -- on the candy side, you'll definitely want to try our Mazapan, Mango, and Pepino con Chile lollipop. And then, on the frozen yogurt side, you'll have to try the Pepino sorbet and horchata topped with Mexican treats!
- If you had once piece of advice for an entrepreneur just starting out, what would it be?
My advice would be to talk about your business constantly. You want to be excited about what you're doing because excitement is contagious. If you're excited about what you are doing and people can see that, then you'll see new customers coming through your doors before you know it!
- Can you sum up your approach to hospitality in one sentence?
We give our our customers the opportunity to taste our candy and froyo the minute they walk through the door.
Through the ChiBuys initiative, we put our money where our mouth is – literally! Over the past year, we have developed relationships with dozens of local, minority and woman-owned caterers throughout the city in an effort to direct our purchasing power with intention and thoughtfulness.
Learn more about ChiBuys at www.1871.com/chibuys.