Puerto Rican entrepreneur brings taste of island to Central Florida

By Paula Machado, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, March 08, 2018, 8:05 PM EST

A single mother of two turned entrepreneur is bringing a little taste of her home in Puerto Rico to Central Florida with her very own store.

  • Dorimar Mercado created Kissimmee's Coqui Snacks
  • Her store offers tastes of Puerto Rico
  • Mercado wants to teach her daughter confidence, independence

"It's like I say, every day is International Women’s Day, because we're always working so hard," said businesswoman Dorimar Mercado.

When you visit Mercado at Coqui Snacks, you'd think you're visiting the island of Puerto Rico. In reality, it's a hidden gem in Kissimmee, where Mercado is serving up tastes from the island.

"Families that live here that bring in their family members from Puerto Rico to let them know it's okay, you still have the flavors from Puerto Rico," Mercado said. 

Mercado opened her store nine years ago as a single mom during the economic recession of 2009. 

"I said 'ok, now even more than ever, I have to work harder,'" Mercado said.

When you visit Coqui Snacks, you'd think you're visiting the island of Puerto Rico. (Paula Machado, staff)

She started snacks that are essentially a popsicle in a cup.

"We started with like six flavors and now we're up to 20," Mercado said.

And now, people keep coming back.

"Because I miss the island ... and the food is great!" said customer Nicolas Castaño on why he visists Coqui Snacks.

For Mercado, the success of her very own business means a lot -- it teaches her daugher about confidence and independence.

"The fact that they see their mom having her own business, working, making it on her own, to me is empowering," she said.

March 8 is International Women's Day. The United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day in 1975.