After being a permanent resident for over 35 years, Manny Castro fulfills his lifelong dream of achieving his U.S. citizenship. As a Minuteman Press franchise owner in Downey, California, for 14 years, Castro credits the support of his family and the team at Minuteman Press International with helping him achieve his dream.
“I officially became a U.S. Citizen on November 20, 2020, and it feels just great! This is my home; I have been living in the States most of my life, and now I can vote. I am really proud of being a citizen of the greatest country in the world, a land of opportunities for all.”
El Salvador to entrepreneurship
Originally from El Salvador, Castro is proud to be an example of achieving the American Dream both in his life and career. He says, “To get my U.S. Citizenship after all this time is just an incredible accomplishment. I came to this beautiful country 38 years ago without a dollar in my pocket, no skills, no academic degrees, no English, not even a high school diploma. Just a young teenager at that time, running away from a very conflicted civil war in El Salvador, looking for a better life.”
Reflecting on those struggles and thinking about where he is today, Castro says, “All I can say now is God is great, and may God continue to bless this great country that offers people from all walks of life hope, endless opportunities, and a second chance in life.”
Castro has owned his Minuteman Press franchise in Downey since May 2007. Over the years, he has successfully built his business while receiving crucial training and support from his franchisor.
“My regional vice president Dan Byers and Steve Szymanski have always had my back since day one. They both wrote a beautiful letter of recommendation for me to support my application for my citizenship. It meant so much to me and my family. My kids were born here, and my entire family have already become citizens. It was time for me now to take that next step as well and join the millions of proud Americans.”
Journey to Minuteman Press
Byers has known Castro for 15 years. He recalls, “I first met Manny at a Franchise Expo in Pasadena in February 2006, and he was determined to own a business. At the time, he was working at a company that was downsizing, and he saw business ownership as a means to financial independence, the opportunity to step up to a new challenge, and a way to regain control of his time.”
Casta made the decision to explore a future as a franchise owner for Minuteman Press. He notes that the organization set him up with the tools and support he needed from the beginning. To stay close to home, Castro converted an independent printing company into a Minuteman Press franchise.
“Time and time again, Manny has been able to successfully manage his business by working hard and treating people—customers, vendors, and employees—fairly and with the utmost respect,” says Byers. “Whether it was the Great Recession of 2008 or the COVID-19 pandemic today, Manny has managed to stay positive and remain focused on growing his business by following the Minuteman Press franchise system.”
Managing business through COVID-19
Because Minuteman Press Downey is an essential business, Castro and his team have continued to remain open.
“For our clients, A-Frame signage, banners, floor decals, brochures, and direct mail have all been crucial in keeping their businesses operating safely while communicating with their customers. 99% of our customer base are other local businesses, and I see people are hungry to get back to work, to open up their doors safely, and we are helping them reach out and reopen safely,” says Castro.
He’s very optimistic that business will return to full force, and he’s confident in how he’s positioned himself to be there for other businesses, as well as the community.
“The most rewarding thing (of owning a business) is having full control of your life and your financials. It’s very fulfilling to have your own business. I know that if I work hard, I reap the benefits.” says Castro.
“For someone from El Salvador to be able to accomplish all of this, I needed to have help along the way. I couldn’t ask for a better franchise to be a part of or better people who are working on behalf of Minuteman Press International to support me with everything I do,” Castro concludes. “Minuteman Press simply has my back, and I couldn’t ask for anything more than that in my business and in my life.”