Founder and Chief Executive Officer of San Jose Imports Inc., San Jose Trading, Invescomex Corporation, and Dulcelandia Candy Stores Eduardo Rodriguez will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award during the Negocios Now Gala on July 21st, at Fairmont Chicago Millennian Park.
“We are excited to give this recognition to Eduardo, an example of what an immigrant can achieve when he knows how to take advantage of the opportunities that this country offers and works hard to fulfill his dreams,” said Clemente Nicado, Publisher of Negocios Now.
“Dulcelandia has not only brightened the lives of thousands of children with its Mexican candies and piñatas, but it is also an indelible hallmark of Latino businesses in Chicago,” he added.
By giving the award to Eduardo, we are symbolically rewarding many businesses throughout the country, which, like Dulcelandia, have succeeded with the participation of family members.”
Eduardo was born in Durango, Mexico, and migrated to the United States, California, at the age of 12, where he worked several jobs until he moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he became a naturalized Citizen. Eduardo attended Loop College, now Harold Washington College, where he earned his GED and Associate Degree in Business Administration.
Eduardo began his entrepreneurial venture in 1985 when he incorporated San Jose Imports Inc., and opened two supermarkets in Chicago, doing business as Centro Supermercado for nearly 15 years. When NAFTA was approved in 1994, Eduardo launched an international company, San Jose Trading, to import confectionary items to the United States. He soon began importing candy and piñatas from Mexico and candy from Puerto Rico and developed a wholesale line of Candy, Dulces Del Sol in the Chicagoland area.
Eduardo and his twin sons Eddie Jr. and Julio Cesar. in a Dulcelandia store, in 2010. Photo Brian Morowczynski, Negocios Now
In 1995, he opened the first Dulcelandia Candy Store on Kedzie Avenue in Chicago’s Brighton Park Neighborhood. Today along with his family, he owns and operates five Dulcelandia Candy Stores located in Little Village, Logan Square, Brighton Park, Chicago Ridge, and Aurora and manages the largest retail and wholesale distributor of Mexican candy in the Midwest, headquartered in Chicago and servicing the entire nation.
Dulcelandia offers a variety of over 1,000 Mexican and American confectionary products and provides the largest selection of piñatas. Dulcelandia has been featured by national and local media such as Crain’s Chicago Business, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, NBC’s The Today Show, FOX Morning Show, WGN Morning Show, ABC 7’s 190 North, Hispanic Business, Negocios Now, La Raza Newspaper, Candy Industry Retail Confectioner, and Metromix. Dulcelandia is also recognized in a permanent exhibit at the Chicago History Museum.
Eduardo is also the CEO of Invescomex, established for the management, construction, and redevelopment of new and existing real estate sites. Invescomex’s inaugural project was the development of a 24,000-square-foot retail center, CCM PLAZA (Centro Comercial Mexicano) which features a Dulcelandia candy store, Eduardo’s sweet family business along with several nationally known tenants.
Eduardo has been a successful businessman for over 40 years, during which he has also maintained extensive community involvement. He served as Treasurer of COMMO, an organization that coordinated Mexican non-for-profit organizations in the Midwest (2002-2003), IMCE, the Mexican Cultural and Education Institute (1999-2000), Durango Unido in Chicago (2000-2002), Pueblos Unidos de Durango in Chicago (2001-2010). Eduardo has also served on the Board of the Little Village Chamber of Commerce (2000-2002). He was the President of the Mexican Civic Society of Il (2007-2009), and a Candidate for Diputado Migrante for the State of Durango (2007). He served as Treasurer of the Mexican Civic Society of IL., working closely with the City of Chicago to coordinate the downtown Mexican Independence Day Parade and civic celebrations with local elected officials. He was also an advisor to NAFINCA (National Financiera de Mexico) and was president of the Durango/ Illinois Chamber of Commerce (2009-2010).
Eduardo has been married to his wife Evelia Rodriguez for 48 years, his life and business partner. They have four children, who they raised while working in the family business and instilling the importance of education. Their twin sons, Eduardo Jr. and Julio Cesar are DePaul University graduates, their daughter Eve Rodriguez Montoya, is a Northwestern University graduate, and Marco Antonio, is currently the VP of Dulcelandia Candy Stores and a graduate of Loyola University. Eduardo and Evelia are the proud and loving grandparents of six grandchildren, Mariah, Jean-Eduard, Julio, Alezzandra, Savannah, and Madelyn Rodriguez.