Even when he’s smiling, Secundino Rincón has a look of deep concentration in his eyes. He is a planner whose perseverance shows in the mop-making business he has created across from his family’s home on a quiet side street in the Dominican Republic’s capital city, Santo Domingo.
When we meet, Secundino is wearing a blue uniform from his day job as a heavy machine operator for the local transportation department. He has run home on his lunch hour to show us the business he and his family have been building for more than 6 years. When he’s not operating heavy equipment he is making mops. His three children, in their late teens and early twenties, also help out at the business. His oldest son is studying at the local university.
Given his penchant for planning, Secundino has been very successful at starting small with basic tools and expanding and upgrading his equipment and facilities as his business grew over the years. He recounts how he started out with a small wooden workshop and loan of U.S. $1100 from longtime Accion partner Banco Ademi. In the early 1980s, Accion helped to found Banco Ademi, an institution that now serves over 150,000 clients in the country. For Secundino, the loan from Banco Ademi has enabled him to expand the workshop and convert the wooden structure to cinder block, produce larger quantities and begin selling to larger stores and companies. He has built a second floor to the workshop – currently wood and corrugated metal – which he plans to also to convert to cinderblock in the future.
Out of necessity more than nostalgia he keeps the original tools he started including a hand crank for winding the mop tendrils and a set of huge machetes for carving the wooden handles. These tools work anytime, even during the frequent and sometimes prolonged apagaones (blackouts) which plague many areas of the country.
With hard work, good planning, and support from Banco Ademi, Secundino has already succeeded in providing a livelihood for his family both now and into the future.