Hispanic Entrepreneurs Oral History Project
Summary of Interview
Carlos Gándara was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. As a child, Gándara had paper routes and collected bottles for extra money. Gándara was introduced to selling office products when he became a driver for BPSI (Business Products and Supplies Inc.) He moved to different office supply stores but credits BPSI for his formal training. Glen Powers was his selling mentor and motivated Gandara to become a better salesman. Gándara recieved professional manager experiance and was the manager at Struges Office Supplies for two years. He was then employed by a national office supply chain and laid off. He then began his own business called Pencil Cup Office Products. He decided to become his own boss because he was very familiar with office products and he built a client base. After working and funding the business himself, Gandara was able to establish a line of credit which he used to further grow his business. Gandara models his business on being approachable, which is something he says is not seen in larger companies. In the El Paso área, he believes it is easier to become personal with customers because of a shared language and experience. Even though hard economic times and the rise of business competition, Pencil Cup was able to keep a client base. Gaándara says being hispanic was one of the biggest challenges he faced while establishing his company, but it has become a benefit in the El Paso area. Gándara’s biggest piece of advice for success in business is to work hard and to keep working hard. He also believes in promoting education in the El Paso area.
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Interview with Carlos Gándara by Edmundo Valencia, 2009, "Interview no. 1541," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.