Coming to America with only ‘your mind and a backpack full of dreams’
At 19 years old, Gregoria Miranda left her home in Nicaragua to chase her dreams of employment and a better life in the U.S. At 32 years old, she’s achieved both and become a small business owner along the way.
Gregoria Miranda is a mother, a U.S. citizen, and a small business owner in Miami, Florida. She has experienced all of these major life moments since arriving in America just 13 years ago — but these dreams had been alive and growing in a little girl’s mind long before then.
As a child in Nicaragua, Miranda used to tell her family of her wish to live in the United States. She said while they did not understand her desire to move so far from home, they still encouraged her to follow her heart.
“When I told my parents this, I thought they were going to say ‘no’ or that I was crazy, but they only told me, ‘yes, go if you want to go, you have our support,’” she said. “It’s what I appreciate most about my parents and I always thank them for.”
So, in 2006, the then-19-year-old moved to Miami, Florida, knowing almost no one. She hustled from job to job at first, but found she needed more time to strengthen her English language skills.
“When I came to the United States, I knew that studying the language was very important and what a better job would require more than anything else,” she said. “I worked cleaning houses and taking care of people, which is all-day work and often live-in. So, that does not give you the opportunity to study and to achieve your dreams or your goals.”
It was also around this time Miranda became a Wells Fargo customer. “When I was 23,” she noted, “I still didn’t have a bank account in the U.S. When I finally tried to open one, many banks wouldn’t accept just my passport as identification, but Wells Fargo worked with me and was the only one to give me a chance.”
Throughout these ups and downs, Miranda remained determined to achieve her dreams and, fortunately, it all started to come together when she landed a job at FRG Watch Repair in Miami in 2013.
At her new job, she worked her way up from running errands to managing the shop, and continued to study — learning the intricacies of watch repair and further improving her English skills — whenever she could find the time before or after her shift.
“Gregoria was very new to learning about the financing needs for a small business, so we started with discussing the value of having access to credit to help with day-to-day operations and purchasing inventory.” — Enrique Loran
In 2017, when the owner of FRG Watch decided to retire, he offered Miranda the opportunity to purchase the company, which she did, using both savings and a personal loan from Wells Fargo. It represented a major step forward for the budding entrepreneur, and Miranda met with Wells Fargo small business banker Enrique Loran for advice on managing the finances for her new company.
“Gregoria was very new to learning about the financing needs for a small business, so we started with discussing the value of having access to credit to help with day-to-day operations and purchasing inventory,” said Loran. “I was able to educate her on business lines of credit and business credit cards and how to use them effectively so her business can grow and succeed financially.”
At 32 years old, Miranda is no longer that little girl in Nicaragua imagining a better life in America, but she has never stopped dreaming.
“Today, my dreams are to grow the business, to advance more, study more, and to achieve more of the goals that I have spinning around in my head,” said Miranda. “I also want to teach my baby that it is worth it to come to this country as an immigrant, only with your mind and with a backpack full of dreams.
“My biggest dream and my biggest goal — to be an example for my son and for all Nicaraguan women, or for any type of woman, who wants to say, yes, it is worth being a mother, having a business, studying, and being a housewife. It’s hard but we can do it,” she said.