A look inside a growing private business in Cuba

Packaging and printing company employs 35 workers, has provider in Hialeah

By Hatzel Vela - Reporter

HAVANA - A private business in Cuba is flourishing despite a lack in materials.

Local 10 News reporter Hatzel Vela visited the small printing shop this week in the Boyeros neighborhood, just outside of Havana.

The streets are not even paved yet, but Ruben Valladares has been able to expand his business, Adorgraf, within five years.

The small packaging and printing company employs 35 workers, who press logos on bags, shirts or whatever else.

Valladares started the business out of his home with a handful of people.

Now his business caters to hundreds of customers, most of them state-owned industries.

Private business is a new world on the island, and Valladares said it's a satisfying feeling for him to be able to employ other Cubans.

Yojani Cristin, who works at the business, said he makes about $70 a week, $280 a month.

The average monthly salary in Cuba is $24.

Cristin lives close to his job and his wife works in the same shop as well.

Valladares said several American companies have helped him in business.

One of the companies is based in Pennsylvania and Valladares considers it a sister company that has guided them from the beginning, helping them learn business strategy.

He has also sent some of his workers to the U.S. for training.

He said their challenge remains getting the basic materials. The U.S. embargo makes it harder, but they manage to get small quantities of materials from the U.S. -- some of it from Hialeah.

Just in bags and packaging, Adorgraf has produced about $200,000 to $300,000 annually.

"What matters is doing it with love," Valladares said.

Valladares hopes to move his business to a bigger space down the street.

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