Recession Made Many South Floridians Small Business Owners

NORTH MIAMI (CBS4) – It’s a Tuesday night in North Miami and food trucks are lined up as usual.  It’s a phenomenon that’s exploded in South Florida over the last couple of years and not by chance.

So, did gelato truck owner Natalie Yepes is she ever envisioned herself running a food truck?

She laughs and says “No!  Never. Actually sometimes I ask when did I start doing this? I’m a trucker.” Yepes used to be a graphic designer.

“It was really tough.  One day I didn’t like it.  I was working for the money but I didn’t enjoy what I was doing so.” So she left to make and sell her own gelato, and Dolce Peccati was born.

Much to her surprise it was not a piece of cake.

“It’s not easier but I enjoy it.” Yepes told CBS4’s David Sutta.

Yepes works seven days a week.  When she’s not on the road she’s cooking, accounting, and marketing.  That’s life in a second career born out of the recession and she’s not alone as the field is packed with no less than 30 trucks.

“It used to be eight to ten trucks.  But now every week there is something new.”

Dozens of people who used to do something else are now their own boss slash truck driver.

The Kaufman Foundation, which tracks startup companies, has found entrepreneurship is at a 15 year high.  More people giving up their day job for “Plan B” and there is a lot of envy out there.

James Tuney, a construction worker told Sutta, “I hope that someday I can own a truck like this and wear flip flops and not have to climb ladders.”

David Medina has actually looked into the trucks as a business for himself.

“You could succeed or you could fail. Me personally if I had the capital I would go for it,” Medina said.

Damian Davis, a chef, explains it makes perfect sense.

“When it really comes down to it it’s all about your happiness.  If you can’t survive being some place and you really don’t like it then you might as well barely survive doing something you love.”

And so one scoop at a time, Yepes is surviving the recession.

“Yeah, I’m gonna make it.  I love it and I’m sure it’s going to work.” She says.  And that’s her advice to anyone out of work or just miserable: find something you like, like gelato, and go for it.

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