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Local business owner shares her story and provides insight into life as a migrant

Posted at 7:29 AM, Oct 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-14 13:24:12-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Springs is gastronomically defined by its surplus of options in grills, burger places, and sandwich shops, according to those in the city.

This can create a sense of cultural ambiguity, but for over a million people of Hispanic background in Colorado, food can take shapes beside the cheeseburger.

Parents to three, and five-year business owners and operators, Consuelo Maldonado and Manuel Morales, run and manage the Frutilandia Mexican snack and ice cream truck in Colorado Springs.

"I don't think you can get anything better anywhere else," said Griffin Besse, a Frutilandia customer.

The truck is run and managed by Maldonado, Morales, and their family and friends.

Like many proud Americans, the couple moved to the United States from Mexico.

Maldonado moved when she was just 15.

Since then, she has worked her way through a variety of different positions up to the title of business owner, an experience that is for many a symbol of the American dream.

"I came with my cousin. Since then I've been working at McDonald's, Arby's, gas stations, restaurants, [as a] waitress, [dishwasher], everything, a little bit of everything," said Maldonado.

She said the job she has enjoyed most is being a gas station cashier, but now loves her business more.

Like many who are confronted with migration, Maldonado said it was her desire to build a life and provide for her family that keeps her inspired.

While building her dream of being a business owner, $6 an hour at a time, she spent her free time studying English.

"I used to have two jobs, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. So the days [I did not work] in the morning, I [went] to the school. The days are [I worked in] the afternoon, I [went] to the school in the morning.

For the next generation of family, like Maldonado's niece, Maria Moreno, Maldandado is more than just a business owner. She is a living inspiration.

"She always ended up getting back up on her feet, and doing what she has to do, knowing no one else is gonna do it for her," said Moreno.

Maldonado said the inspiration did not start with her.

"First, I want to say 'thank you' to my parents. Thank you for them for teaching me how to work, to be honest, and working hard all the time," said Maldonado.

Moreno said her aunt is beyond happy. She said her aunt is grateful.

"Second, I want to say 'thank you' to my husband because he's he growing with me. We're growing together, to have something for us later on. We love our small family," said Maldonado.

The family is currently finishing the touches on their second location, Frutilandia 2, in downtown Colorado Springs.

The food truck can currently be found at 3195 Airport Rd., Colorado Springs, CO, 80910.
Their second location will be at 107 Pikes Peak Ave., Colorado Springs, CO, 80903.