Enrique Ruiz Villaseñor and his team ensuring
that the mole and tortillas arrive as promised
For Mexica n i MMi- The small-scale packaging com- rect U.S. address of relatives, offer-grants in the U.S., life pany was aimed at enabling the ing advice on what can be shipped,
in the land of fast-food wives, sisters and mothers of im- and helping customers assemble the
hamburgers and pizza can be a migrants living in the U.S. to ship packages. october and november
rough change of pace for tastebuds food, medicines as well as docu- are always the company’s busiest
accustomed to mole and fresh tor- ments—such as pictures, birth cer- and most profitable months, as cus-tillas. For Enrique Ruiz Villase- tificates, marriage licenses, house tomers descend on Paisa Paq stores
ñor, that represented an appetiz- plans, and letters—to their relatives to send artesanías, dulces and homeing opportunity. He found a way across the border. made mole to loved ones in the U. S.
to link the poor rural communi- The keys to ruiz’s success were for El Día de los Muertos.
ties which are the sources of much two factors: the remittances sent enrique ruiz’s original hunch
of the new Mexican immigration home by Mexican immigrants have about his customers’ yen for the
with the millions of home cook- given rural communities unaccus- comfort foods of home has paid
ing-starved people who left them tomed buying power, and the short off handsomely. Paisa Paq now
behind—and create a viable busi- distances between the immigrants’ has branches in eight Mexican
ness in the process. new homes in the U.S. and the states, withover80locations. Sales
Starting from modest beginnings homes they left behind makes trans- amounted to more than $2 million
in 1997—with $70, a used scale, and port relatively easy. But Paisa Paq is in 2006. at 35, enrique ruiz is still
an MBa from iPa De (Instituto Pan- more than just a shipping company. ambitious. With his equally dedi-
americano de Alta Dirección de Em- it provides full assistance to poor cated finance director, eduardo Ba-
presa)—the then- 25–year-old ruiz families trying to wade through dillo, he is making plans to expand
founded Paisa Paq in the Mexican the red tape of the shipping process, to 12 states. That’s a lot of mole—and
city of Puebla, where he grew up. including helping to find the cor- a lot of exported happiness.
26 Americas Quarterly winter 2008