Kerry Olvera, 94'
When Kerry Olvera was a student at Grand Valley in the early 1990s, she never would have thought that one day she would own a business.
Much to her surprise, in 2007, Olvera, her husband, brother and sister-in-law purchased their first Supermercado location in Grand Rapids on Clyde Park Avenue, which was the beginning of the Supermercado Mexico enterprise and brand.
The business is constantly growing and expanding. There are now two other locations on Chicago Drive and Division Avenue, as well as a Mexicana Bakery at the Division Avenue location.
“When I was in school, I never had the idea that I was going to own my own business,” Olvera said. “I always thought I was going to work for somebody else.”
At Grand Valley, Olvera pursued a degree in marketing, with a minor in Spanish. Olvera explained that her business classes have been extremely helpful.
“I can’t imagine not having that degree to stand on,” Olvera said. “When we came to purchase the supermarket, all of my business classes came back to me as I needed them.”
Her knowledge from classes on accounting, finance and marketing have helped her with tasks like bookkeeping and budgeting for the business.
Olvera was also very involved as a student at Grand Valley. She was a part of multiple student organizations, worked part time, and even had the chance to study abroad in Guadalajara, Mexico. But Olvera said that she kept her studies as her first priority.
A typical day now for Olvera includes homeschooling her children, checking her email, and responding to tasks that need to be done such as paying bills, and sending out paperwork. Olvera said that her vision for the future is to continue to look for ways to improve.
“I want to make sure that my kids have a solid foundation when they go out into the world,” Olvera said. “I want to prep them to be entrepreneurs and owners of their own businesses one day.”
Olvera said that the best piece of advice she has for people looking to start their own business is to makes sure they get a good team.
“Listen to the advice that your advisors give you,” Olvera said. “Use services such as the Small Business Development Center, and hire the best help you can possibly afford.”