DALLAS — Andrea and Cindy Pedraza opened their first chocolate shop with $400 in their pocket.
Now the mother-daughter duo is setting an entrepreneurial example for the younger generation of girls in their family.
"My daughter and her cousin now play and pretend to be business owners," Cindy Pedraza said. "They’re changing the mindset on how they see themselves of the traditional female role."
The family runs CocoAndré Chocolatier out of a house tucked away on a street near Bishop Arts. The shop brings together neighbors, sweets and Mexican heritage.
Andrea Pedraza and her daughter started their business with limited resources more than 10 years ago after both women were laid off during the recession.
Cindy Pedraza said they would remind themselves it would all be OK, even if that meant making sure their employees got paid but she and her mother didn't.
She hasn't seen many Latino families who own a shop like theirs. Cindy Pedraza says she loves incorporating the Mexican heritage in everything they do and make.
"I’m obsessed with Mercados," Cindy Pedraza said as she pointed out the piñatas and other decorations in the business.
From the dirty horchata to the piñata decorations or spices they put into their chocolate, it’s all about combining her culture and love for chocolate together.
The cacao comes from Soconusco and Chiapas in Mexico. They say it’s important to see fresh, well-grown ingredients.
The chocolate is handcrafted and combines traditional European techniques with flavors from Mexico.
One example is "La Picosita," which includes minimally processed Chiapas cacao with pepitas, guajillo chile, and hibiscus wildflower salt.
The business name combines Cindy Pedraza's love of Coco Chanel and her mother's nickname.
“I’ve always had this love for Coco Chanel’s story. She was a seamstress, my mom was a seamstress for 14 years before she was a chocolatier," Cindy Pendraza said.
Her grandfather called his daughter Andre.
Andrea Pedraza completed an apprenticeship with a local chocolatier prior to owning CocoAndré, and before that, she was a seamstress.
"My mom is always reading and learning," Cindy Pedraza said.
The business owners often host pop-ups or attend neighborhood events. They want to be a resource for other small business owners, especially females.
"Just go for it," she tells aspiring entrepreneurs.
CocoAndré has been at its current location since 2014. The Pedrazas don't plan to move from Oak Cliff.
They've grown to love the neighborhood and want to keep their chocolate accessible to people
CocoAndré is located at 508 West 7th Street in Dallas.
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