When you pull up at a red light, and you’re the only car on the road, instead of sitting there waiting, aggravated, do you ever wonder, “Why doesn’t someone invent smart traffic lights that react to real-time traffic conditions?” If that thought has never crossed your mind, you’re like most people. Most of us accept and deal with the world around us as it is. And that’s the difference between most of us, and entrepreneurs.
People with the entrepreneurial gene see the same world you and I do. But instead of enduring the status quo, they think, “There’s got to be a better way.” That’s the thought process that led both of Peter’s guests on this edition of Out to Lunch to their current businesses.
Brandon LeBeau was a Tulane undergrad, with a pickup truck. He used his truck to help so many fellow students move, that when he came back to New Orleans in 2018 – after a stint as a professional football player – he started a moving company. The company is called Movn.bid. It’s called that because when you’re ready to move, you upload pictures of your stuff, and tell the company what you’d like to pay them to move it. If Movn.bid agrees to your price, your move is all set. And it can even happen the same day if you want.
Carlos Avelar has 3 sons. Will, Fernando, and Raoul. Will was chef du cuisine at Emeril Lagasse’s restaurant, Meril, when he heard that the company that supplied Meril with tortillas was for sale. The company was called Mawi Tortillas. Will told his dad and brothers that this would be a golden opportunity for them to buy a company and start a family business. And that’s what they did. The Avelar boys set about combining their knowledge of Latin American food with their business skills. And built Mawi into a business that sells a range of Salvador-inspired foods, including tortillas, salsa, bean dip, and imported cheeses.
Back when the family bought Mawi Tortillas, in 2017, brother Fernando Avelar had just graduated from UNO with a degree in business management. Today Fernando is the company’s co-owner and Manager.
Movn Tortillas and More
In the entrepreneurial world – and probably in life in general – there are people who take opportunities, and there are people who make opportunities. It’s definitely a talent to be able to see and take advantage of an opportunity. But it’s a whole other level of skill to manage a series of incidents, and even setbacks, and rearrange them to create a new path that takes you and your business to a better place. Brandon and Fernando are both those guys. They’ve both grown a business, made adjustments to navigate severe headwinds, and emerged better for it.
Photos by Jill Lafleur. Here’s more conversation about LatinX business and Pang Wangle too.