Restaurateur Brings Caribbean Flavors To Colorado After Opening During the Pandemic
We here at GOBankingRates want to help get our nation’s small businesses back on their feet after the COVID-19 pandemic. To do that, we’re highlighting readers’ favorite small businesses around the country, and shining a spotlight on what makes them special to their customers and their towns.
In this edition of our Small Business Spotlight series, we’re featuring Rumba Authentic Latin Cuisine, a Colorado Springs restaurant that serves Colombian, Latin American, Mexican and Puerto Rican cuisine and makes every customer feel like family. Here, we chat with owner Angelina Galiana about fulfilling her decades-long dream to open a restaurant, the incredible customer support she’s received and how she kept her new business afloat during the pandemic.
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Was there a particular moment or experience that inspired you to start your business?
Since I was little, I’ve loved cooking. I always had all my friends and family over to my house and I cooked for them. I said, “One day, I’m going to open a restaurant for everybody.” And I did — 20 years later!
I want people to taste what real Caribbean food is all about. I have gone to thousands of restaurants and they don’t have that flavor. I told my husband, the money that we have, we’re going to invest it in this. I do my own cooking, my own baking and the bartender is myself too. When we opened, it was the pandemic. But I’m still there and I’m surviving and I’m making it. I’m there every day.
What did you take from past experiences or jobs that you knew you wanted to be a part of your new business?
When I was younger, I catered for many years. I did private catering and that’s how I started. That’s what got me into the food business. I loved it. I loved cooking for a lot of people. Don’t tell me to cook for four people — I want to cook for 50. I want to see the satisfaction of the people when they’re eating my meal.
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What has been the most rewarding aspect of being a business owner?
Feeling good about what you’re doing and satisfying customers. I have a guy that drives an hour and half and when he comes, he will take coolers and he will buy food for three days for his home just to support my business. I have people driving 70 miles just to support my business because they said I was the best food they ever tried. It makes you feel like you’re wanted.
How has the pandemic affected your business?
It was hard. I didn’t want to let go of my employees — I had eight employees at the time and they closed us down for two months. I took [money] out of my own pocket to survive and have my people. I didn’t let go of any of them.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business?
Do it. Every day, work harder and harder until you make it. I didn’t give up on my dream. I dreamt it 30 years ago. Now I’m 50, and I did it, and I’m going to keep up and keep doing it.
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This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Last updated: July 6, 2021