Downey resident Manny Castro has just past a milestone that could be considered a great achievement in any regard; his business Minuteman Press - located in a small strip mall on Florence Avenue – just recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary.
Yet the road that leads to Castro’s tenure as an entrepreneur is one that leads to humble beginnings not found in Downey, California, or even the United States. Castro’s road began in El Salvador.
Castro migrated from El Salvador right around 1982. He says that at the time, ‘everything was uncertain.”
“The war [Salvadorian Civil War] was going on,” said Castro. “I didn’t grow up with my mom or dad. My dad passed away when I was 5 or 6…My mom and dad were separated; my mom had kind of disappeared from our life.”
Castro lived with his grandmother on his father’s side until she too passed away.
“My grandma passed away, and then the civil war exploded,” said Castro. “I ended up moving to San Salvador with my grandma on my mom’s side, and before you know it my mom shows up.”
Castro’s mom had been living in Mexico. It wasn’t long after she arrived in his life that he moved there with her.
“That’s when my journey began,” said Castro.
Castro and his family continued to live in Mexico for about a year and a half before finally making the move to California.
Upon Arrival, Castro – who was about 17 at the time – enrolled in night time adult school.
“That’s where I got the foundation for the new language,” said Castro.
He was also put to work. Unfortunately, situations changed and work took priority over school.
Eventually, Castro was hired by a company that dealt in the distribution of magazines. Castro did well and promoted several times over seven years, however was unfortunately laid off.
It was now time for Castro to make a choice.
“This is when I decided to continue to look for another job or start my own business,” said Castro. “This is where Minuteman Press comes into play.”
Castro now lives in Downey – a 20 year resident – with his daughters Jackie, age 23, Cristina, age 21, and Sophia, age 11, and his wife Hassnaa.
Upon reflection of his journey, he says he’d tell himself to stay a little more focused in school in order to reap the benefits of education. Still, he feels things turned out alright for him in the long run.
“I thank God that it’s not the end of the world, but it does give you an advantage,” said Castro. “Thank God things turned out real well for me. I worked hard, I put my heart into it, I love what I do.”