Creating a legacy and tradition through a 20 year old family business is what motivates Maria Gonzalez everyday as a business owner. While she may not have originally started Old Town Juan Transportation Services, the idea of being able to work hand in hand with her father to continue growing his vision brings Maria unmatched joy. While the 20 years have not been a walk in the park for the business, Maria still recognizes the honor it is for her to be part of the journey through both the high times as well as the challenging times.
Juan, Maria’s father, came to the United States in 1995 and quickly got into the transportation and taxi industry. Working as a driver, Juan experienced several incidents that were unsafe and put his life at risk. These experiences made Juan realize that it was important for him to start a Taxi business that prioritized the safety of the drivers as well as the passengers. Which is why in 2011 he opened his first business, Partners Taxi. However, Juan never accounted for having to close the business in a few short years because his two drivers did not have the same standard of service and safety he expected. The issues with his employees led to Juan having to shut down the business due to fees and debts he had incurred due to the staff issues.
Nevertheless, Juan was not ready to give up on his dream of owning a company which is when he opened up, Old Town Juan Transportation Services. The name derived from servicing the Old Town Scottsdale area and his name being Juan. Old Town Juan was one of the first golf cart taxi businesses in the area which allowed him for huge growth and success, so much so that he was able to hire additional drivers and add several other golf carts to his fleet.
Being the daughter of an entrepreneur inspired Maria to open up her own business Barra Maria, in 2019. Barra Maria is a bartending service for small and large private events. Through this business, Maria experienced exciting growth and success – but March 2020 changed all that. As the travel and entertainment industry shut down, the demand for transportation services came to halt.
With 80% of her contracts canceled, the financial and operational problems that Maria and Juan experienced during this time forced Maria to return to her nursing job to be able to help her father financially. This dampened her dreams of following in father’s footsteps. In late 2021, Maria had an epiphany which led her to decide to join forces with her father and partner with him to grow and expand Old Town Juan Transportation Services. Combining her skills with her father’s knowledge of the industry gave Maria hope that they could work towards climbing towards success once again.
But Maria knew that the reality they were facing was one of financial hardships. They needed money to expand and service their fleet of golf carts. This is when Maria decided to reach out to Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC), which she had heard were offering resources and loans to businesses in Arizona. Contacting them immediately, the team at CPLC, connected Maria to Prestamos and from there she applied for the SBA loan program.
Maria recalls the process being smooth and easy. Through the loan Maria is looking forward to buying necessary licenses, do repairs and maintenance on their current fleet, and potentially add a few additional carts. With this expansion in the works, Old Town Juan Transportation Services is set to become one of the largest and most established transportation companies of its kind in Scottsdale. This experience has allowed Maria to grow a closeness to her father and further develop her respect for his passion towards the business. Maria wakes up hopeful everytime and her wish to help support her father the same way he has done for her, her entire life.
Prestamos exists to help nurture and grow entrepreneurs through their journeys. We are a mission-driven entity that operates under the non-profit Chicanos Por La Causa, which provides communities with resources ranging from health, education, financial services, housing, and advocacy. Prestamos continues its efforts to advance our work to provide high-quality financial products and services for small businesses that lead to impactful economic development projects. We invite you to visit our website, prestamosloans.org, to learn more about our efforts and apply for a business loan.