Updated April 2019
Winner, 2015 Faces of Entrepreneurship award
Abraham arrived in San Rafael, California in 1997 from Mexico. His first job was washing dishes. Through his willingness to learn and hard work, he moved from busboy to waiter to supervisor at Rickey’s Restaurant in Novato.
But Abraham had a dream of owning a business – perhaps a fine dining Mexican restaurant or a computer repair shop as he liked technology. He tried his hand at business ownership and opened a small catering company in 2007. The recession hit and he had to close.
He loved to fix his own gadgets and has a passion for technology, so he promised his 10-year old son, Johny: “Someday, we’re going to open an electronics business.” For an immigrant from Yucatan, Mexico, with little English at the time, no formal technical skills or money, it was a tall order.
In his spare time, he studied English, earned his GED, and took courses to get an Associate’s Degree in Computer Information Systems at the College of Marin. With all this new knowledge, he started repairing electronics for his neighboring friends and family around 2011.
Abraham was in transition; he lost his house and got a divorce. With nothing to lose, he decided to start fresh. And start with something better. It was time to pursue the dream.
He started by working on his finances. He enrolled in a workshop with EARN that taught ways to save and come out of debt. The EARN program offered a matched Independent Savings Account to start a business. In order to be able to qualify for the match, Abraham needed a business plan and a business counselor. The counselor referred him to the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center in Marin in 2011.
Abraham took Renaissance’s “Como Empezar Tu Propio Negocio/Start and Grow Smart” class to work on his business plan and received one-on-one advising through the Renaissance-hosted SBDC to finalize his plan. His instructor, Fermin Alvarez, gave him an understanding of what it takes to open a business. And his business counselor Luis taught him Quickbooks, budget management, and inventory management.
While starting his business, he continued to work 16 hour days: five nights a week at the restaurant and daytime doing maintenance for a hotel. That left him three-to-four afternoons to work on his electronics business.
In May of 2013, he decided it was time to fulfill his promise to Johny. His studio apartment was becoming overcrowded with computers and parts with no room to work on them. And he was eligible to withdraw the money he saved through the EARN program to put a deposit on a physical location. He opened YucaTech Technology Solutions — a dedicated, customer-focused electronics service business on Fourth Street in San Rafael.
In 2014, Renaissance recognized Abraham with the Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Abraham continued to stay involved with the Center by receiving ongoing consulting and participating in Renaissance’s events. And though the Center later relocated to Richmond, Abraham still keeps in touch with the people who helped him.
In 2017, Abraham’s business grew enough for him to open a second location, the San Anselmo Repair Shop. Now he employs four people in the San Rafael location and two people in San Anselmo plus himself. He is also currently looking to hire more staff.
Abraham’s hard work and sacrifices paid off, and the business is doing well. “This year, we will be doing about $250,000 in sales for the first shop, YucaTech, and the second one is going to be doing about $100,000,” he said last December. “That’s where we are; definitely, we have grown.”
YucaTech practices environmentally conscious business operations – the business recycles and reuses tech devices and electronics. Abraham also likes to be involved with his community, regularly attending meetings and luncheons with the Marin Latino Leaders organization.
His main inspiration is his son, who turned 21 last July. For three years, Johny worked alongside his father and learned the technical skills and ropes of running a business. Abraham’s goal is to always set an example of good business ownership, which is an ongoing effort. “I want to make it into a more solid business where the community will definitely always trust and prefer our business over other competitors by providing great quality service, great quality repairs, and reasonable prices.”