Nelly, born in the Dominican Republic and living in Sullivan County for 16 years, is a single mom that went through many challenges and obstacles in her life before making her dream come true.

“My dream was to open a restaurant. I grew up watching my mother cook and I like to serve people and see that they’re happy at my restaurant,” said Nelly.

Before opening her restaurant in Monticello, Nelly dedicated her time to taking care of her children when they were little. She had opened a restaurant in Poughkeepsie prior to her current one, but because of a family situation, she had to leave and decided to move to Monticello. Still having her dream to open her restaurant in Monticello, she worked for a few years in Majek Furniture and the Catskills Regional Medical Group in Harris. After her kids grew up, she decided to take a risk and with the tax return money she received, she opened Nelly’s Latin Restaurant in Monticello.

“My success has been because I love what I do, I’m always at the restaurant and I like taking care of my customers. If there are problems, I look to find a solution to avoid further situations. Also, to succeed in a business, it’s important to treat your employees like family and have a good relationship with them,” said Nelly. 

In addition to providing good customer service and loving what she does, Nelly renovated her business to make it more comfortable for visitors. Through the CDBG Microenterprise program, which is state-funded, she was eligible to receive a grant that helped with her renovations. With that grant, she renovated her kitchen, bought new equipment, painted her restaurant and changed her sign. She also mentions that she likes to make small renovations every now and then so that customers see new and different things.

Nelly remembers opening her business as the most exciting time, seeing the people waiting to enter her restaurant. “I have many clients that support me and they’re my priority.” Nelly shows us that it doesn’t matter the obstacles and limitations, you can succeed.

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