A National Award-Winning Publication

Laura Valle


Creating a better space for women

Laura Valle

Age: 36

Title: Owner

Organization: Salsas Family Market

Born in Morelos, Cuernavaca, Mexico, Laura Valle came to Chicago at the age of 14. Her parents had nothing and needed to work long shifts, leaving her alone with her 8-year-old sister and newborn boy. Their salary was not enough to support the family, so Valle decided to help. She found a part-time job in a grocery store where she met her future husband.

Previously she owned the successful restaurant Salsa’s Grill at 3808 W. Lawrence Ave. It was known for pozole and tamales, but the stress and time needed to run a restaurant made her consider leaving the industry. She did not want her son to have the same memories she had, of long days waiting for her mom to come back from work. Also, Valle could never ask for a day off or stay at home if she was feeling sick.

Someone offered to buy the restaurant, and she jumped at the opportunity because she had already been thinking of opening a grocery store. When she opened Salsas Family Market, her goal was to start looking for more staff, especially other women, and give them the opportunity for a part-time or full-time job within walking distance of their home. As a woman, mother, and wife, Valle knows it is sometimes hard to leave the house for long hours for jobs run by men or big corporations that do not allow a flexible schedule.

She started the store with only herself and her husband. After two years in business, they were distributing homemade salsas to six different stores and had hired five women with flexible hours and days. Her parents also help and now manage their own schedule.

Words of wisdom: To succeed in every area of your life you need to unlock your mindset: be bold, be flexible, take risks, and start doing what other people can’t, won’t, or don’t do because it’s not about the challenges or the setbacks. It’s about never losing faith in yourself. It’s about believing in yourself when no one else will, believing in your dreams when no one else will, standing up for those dreams, standing up for yourself. That space of self-discovery can be intimidating, but it’s the most powerful place you can be.

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