El Palo Magazine, LLC

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Rosa Julia Rodriguez worked in the banking industry as a loan underwriter for more than 20 years and started a magazine as a hobby with her partner Jose Alex Parra while she continued working full-time at Wells Fargo. Just recently, in June 2013 she left her full-time job to devote all her time and passion to her free bilingual magazine called El Palo, which they started in 2010. Alex is a renowned DJ at the only radio station in the area focused in the Latino community. El Palo Magazine is a high quality bilingual magazine which publishes current events happening around the community that initially started in the city of Reading, PA then expanded to the entire Berks County area.

The magazine contains articles of interest for both Latino and non-Latino populations and advertisements from local businesses and organizations which are the magazine’s main source of income. One of the challenges Rodriguez and Parra faced while starting their business was gaining the trust from companies to advertise in the magazine. They also had to juggle all positions of the business from doing accounting to delivering the magazines themselves. Rodriguez did not obtain any financing and started with some of her personal savings. Rordriguez’s persistence and dedication helped her to push through the setbacks and expand quickly. After a year, the magazine went from being a small brochure to a full size magazine and in less than six months they went from having 5 clients to more than 70 clients who wanted to advertise in the magazine.
 
In 2012, Rodriguez sought assistance from the Latino Business Resource Center (LBRC) at the Kutztown University Small Business Development Center (SBDC)  to help to take her business to the next level of development and requested assistance with her business plan, marketing plan and financial plan. The primary purpose was to increase the numbers of ad sales and increase distribution. They also wanted to expand to more areas. She attended the LBRC 8 week program on business skills for Latino business which gave her the knowledge and organizational skills she needed to continue expanding her business. After winning second place in the LBRC Business Plan competition and graduating from the program, she applied to join the Jump Start Incubator, a program where she obtains office space and utility resources at low cost but most importantly she gets one-on-one assistance from graduate students and business counselors in all business areas including finance and marketing. In addition, it gives her the opportunity to connect with other businesses that are part of the Incubator.
 
El Palo Magazine is a great example of success of a small business led by Latino entrepreneurs who despite the many obstacles they have faced keep working hard to make their dreams a reality.
 
Since 2010, we are pleased to announce that the magazine has more than 80 advertisement clients and counting. She has a new website running and she was also able to expand her services including printing, designing flyers, palm cards, business cards, door hangers, posters, tickets and more. Her business has had tremendous growth in the last few months. They have expanded from the Berks county area into Lancaster County, York County, Lehigh County and Dauphin County and as they look into the next few years, they anticipate increasing their reach into major cities such as Philadelphia and adding more relevant content written by experts in different areas. In addition, Rosa hopes to add a storefront in the future.