Entertainment Post

How Carlos Castro Built Todos Supermarket

Carlos Castro, Todos

The success story of Carlos Castro is an American dream – a journey that started in the outskirts of the capital of El Salvador and concluded in the outskirts of the US capital. 

Castro stopped his childhood leisure at 13 to support his family. At such a young age, he began working with his father in construction. 

“I learn[ed] a lot about reinforced steel and masonry and plumbing,” Castro stated, stressing that his father made certain he was taught “all the stages of construction – all the way to understanding blueprint reading.” 

Castro gives all the credit to his father, who taught him to work hard and set aside all excuses. Working with the man he looked up to would bring him his most-wanted success. 

While Castro saw the beauty of his homeland – with the rivers, wildlife, and awe-striking volcanos – a civil war started in 1979 that made it almost impossible for people to work, according to him. 

A year into the war, Castro – now 25 – changed his life by making the most difficult decision: to flee to America. 

“In a split second, I had to decide what was best for me and my family,” he stated. 

He was among the almost half a million Salvadorans who escaped what would be a fatal 12-year battle. 

“I had dreams of coming to the US because I fell in love with the language and the people,” he added. 

Castro landed in Washington, D.C. – home to one of the largest El Salvadoran populations in the country, second to Los Angeles. He was employed and sent money home to his partner, Gladis, and their child. It was not easy, but he just kept going. 

Then, in one blink of his eye, things changed. 

“I got an opportunity in construction after being a janitor and a dishwasher, a busboy and a cook,” he stated. “And I got my opportunity to show what I knew – and my boss took [an] interest in me.” 

Along with the job, his employer offered him a sponsored visa. That’s when it all started. 

Castro’s hard work isn’t merely driven by his hands – back home, he was a class valedictorian in high school and went to business college. And his dreams were centered more on providing for his family. 

When he felt it was time, his wife and son followed him to the US. Gladis worked as a cleaner, and the pair saved their money. Then one day, Castro decided his wife should stop cleaning homes. 

So, they decided to launch a grocery store. 

“The whole purpose was to provide for my wife a better way of earning her [living] – you know, not do housecleaning,” he said. 

The store was called “Todos Supermarket.” In his native language, “todo” means “all” or “everybody.” Todos would then become a place for Hispanic people to find support. 

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Castro with Todos

Todos today proved that the growing business is more than just a place to find Hispanic goods. Here, locals can do and get other needs as well. 

“It’s a group of small businesses like, you know, money-wiring. And we have an insurance agency, we have a tax and accounting company with some partners and a small café within the restaurant,” stated Castro. 

The more Todos Supermarket offered the community what it needed, the faster its success became evident. 

Currently, Castro possesses two enormous plazas in North Virginia that the Hispanic community feels safe going to. In addition, he has collaborated with local high school educators to work for him and mentor teens in the area. 

“One of our focus[es] as a company [is] to help our youth – actually help their families, providing help with their raising their youth,” he stated. 

Castro and his wife hire 180 individuals, 90% are of Hispanic roots. And a majority of their managers are women. 

“He’s like a friend to us; he’s helping us. He [is] always asking us how we are; if we are comfortable here,” said a manager at one of the branches, Andrea. 

Carlos and Gladis are thankful for the chance they experienced in the US, and feel it is necessary to give back in all possible ways. 

“Todos Supermarket has grown out of fulfilling the needs of the community, trying to be a partner in whatever the community needs,” stated Castro. 

And they are not finished with their development: Their next objective is a coffee and cacao farm in Gladis’ home village – employing people in both El Salvador and the US.

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