Local News


Immigrant couple living the 'American Dream' in Las Vegas on Independence Day weekend

Posted at 1:02 AM, Jul 08, 2019

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — On Independence Day weekend, as many celebrated everything that has made America special, one Las Vegas family worked to make their "American Dream" a reality.

The Lara family have carved out a living in the competitive culinary world in the valley by cooking with love, spirit, and the flavor of home in The Flavor of Life food truck.

Paula Lara immigrated from Guadalajara, Mexico, 13 years ago, and has been building her businesses reputation for the last year.

"It's very difficult," Lara said, "but if you don't do, if you just think and don't do, you stay in that all the time."

Upon arrival in the U.S., she first lived in San Francisco and worked at a Cheesecake Factory to make ends meet.

"North California is expensive so that's why we came here to Las Vegas," Lara said.

She said restaurant work still wasn't cutting it when she came to Nevada because she wanted to build her own business.

"Then we can have opportunity to give more jobs to others," Lara said.

She needed help to get started.

Lara said she went to the bank, and they gave her a list of groups that could provide her with a micro loan.

She said Community Development Financial Institution Accion felt right in her heart.

"We're not as rigid as a bank," loan officer Tony Salazar said.

Salazar said Accion will give micro loans to start-ups as long as they can present a solid business plan, and will give micro loans to any existing business as long as they've been in business for at least six months.

"We want to spur the economy using the small entrepreneur," Salazar said.

With the small loan in hand, Lara bought a food truck and the supplies needed to get started, and she has since gained a tasty reputation on the streets of Las Vegas.

She has since hired four people to help manage the truck, and has her sights set on more.

"I think in the future we want to make a little restaurant and grow and grow," Lara said.

She has been pursuing the American Dream, and while she said it's not always glamorous it has been worth the effort.

Without the hard work, she may never have known her potential.

"I think that people, everything they have on their mind, they have to do," Lara said, "because if you're just thinking, and dreaming, and don't do it, it stays there."

Lara said they drive their food truck all over the city to get new customers, but they can be found on Facebook and Instagram.

Accion operates in five states, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and Arkansas, and small businesses can apply for a loan by visiting us.accion.org.