ARTIST: Carlos Juan Lopez
Juan Carlos Lopez is a local artisan who enjoys teaching others about the art of the pottery wheel. Lopez uses red clay that he harvests from the mountains of Belize. These little pots have gone through a weeklong creation process whereby each day a step was carefully performed. They have been shaped and molded, sun-dried, fired in a kiln, and finally glazed to create a glistening exterior.
PRODUCT: Dark Chocolate & Cocoa Powder
OWNER: Deon Chavarria
Moho Chocolate is a tree to bar chocolate company, selling chocolate made from cacao grown on our own farm in the Toledo District of Belize. They ferment and dry their beans in small batches and continue the process with small-batch roasting, grinding, and refining into the chocolate you know and love. Their dark chocolate is made from two ingredients: cocoa beans and sugar. It doesn’t get much purer than that!
The Moho Chocolate Factory and Cafe is located in the Fort Street Tourism Village in Belize City and offers tours and ‘make your own bar’ workshop for tourists.
PRODUCT: Orange Dark Chocolate
OWNER: Andrea Ack
Andrea is a Maya Que’chi who grew up in the beautiful quaint village of San Miguel. She married Mr. Martin Ack and became a house wife. Doing chores and taking care of the children was her daily routine, while Mr. Martin was out working 80 miles away. According to Andrea, her business started almost accidentally and it was never her intention. She’d only make chocolate treats for her children, nieces and nephews and of course for the family to drink. She was afraid of expanding her distributions, but her husband, a licensed tour guide, told her that they can start a business. About ten weeks later Andrea made her first bar of 80% dark chocolate. She loves the idea of helping other people reap from the numerous health benefits of real chocolate. At up and running, the family offers a bean to bar chocolate adventure with an educational cacao farm experience and making your own chocolate the traditional way.
A MESSAGE FROM ANDREA:
Thank you to each and everyone who have visited my small batch facility. I must say that each bar sold does not only support my family but also the farmers from whom we source our cacao beans.
Yessi's Cuisine & Catering
PRODUCT: Hot Pepper Sauce
OWNER: Yssenia Guerra
Yssenia Guerra, a young entrepreneur from Orange Walk Town who owns a home-based catering service, has brought much joy and love in doing what she does best. Cooking has always been her passion; food, meals, blend, flavors, and juices all in one. Yssenia stated, “All I could remember was how I loved enjoying Grandma Vertia’s home-cooked meals and treats. As time went by, my dad continued Granny Vertia’s traditional cooking and also our unforgettable hot pepper sauce. Ever since, it has been a tradition to have habanero pepper sauce with our meals at home.” Yssenia also offered the traditional habanero pepper sauce in her food catering which complemented her service. Furthermore, in years of experience, she decided to make her dream come true by making a product of her own, including the traditional taste of Granny Vertia’s habanero pepper sauce. Yssenia expanded by introducing seven more flavors and eventually introducing gourmet sauces too.
Ricky's Spice Shack
PRODUCT: Belizean Bay Seasoning
OWNER: Chef Ricky Frutos
Ricky Frutos started Ricky’s Spice Shack in 2015 to provide a wider diversity of global spices to the villages and towns of Belize. He soon found that curious buyers did not know how to use the 70+ exotic spices he offered. Ricky realized that the easiest way to teach was to offer a vast array of hand-blended mixes — a recipe in a bag. Today he has more than 40 blends that regularly sell at markets in San Ignacio and Belmopan: BBQ rubs, curry mixes, mole, baking spices, herbal combinations, and more.
PRODUCT: Papaya Passion Fruit Jam
OWNER: Wilana Oldham
It all started in 1996, when Howard and Wilana Oldham decided to relocate to Wilana’s home country, Belize. Wilana is a 3rd generation Belizean and Howard, an American investor who had fallen in love with the country. They had one idea and that was to produce Habanero Pepper Jelly from a recipe handed down through Wilana’s family. After 7 years, the Oldhams felt that it was time to make a change and started focusing on making sauces from peppers they did not export.
The idea had always been that they would eventually venture into making different types of hot sauce, utilizing the abundance of fresh fruits that flourish in Belize. Mrs. Wilana started experimenting in her kitchen and Manganero (a mango and habanero pepper sauce) was their first gourmet sauce. This sauce was unique because it is a hot sauce, tempered somewhat by the sweetness of the mango. Wilana felt that there could be other people like herself who would like something hot and sweet, and not just hot. Since then, they have developed a line of hot and sweet products, including a line of Aunt Sadie’s Jellies.
PRODUCT: Scented Candle
OWNER: Chelsea Young
Flicker candles is owned by 13-year-old Chelsea Young who started her business about a year ago in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Having more time at home because of the quarantining measures, Chelsea started to look for business ideas. Having tried to make candles before by melting a couple of older candles together to make one, she quickly decided that she would get into the business of candles. With some of her savings and an investment from her mom, Chelsea started selling candles right before the Christmas holidays and sold her first 100 candles in a couple hours after appearing on local news and social media. Flicker Candles is proud to be a small business and is grateful for all the support we have received!
PRODUCT: Lip Scrub & Mask
OWNER: Lorcia Moore
Naturally Belize is a small business that sells handmade all natural Beauty Care Products that promote a healthy hair and skin care regime. Lorcia Moore, the owner of the business, started making her products in 2014 in her kitchen in Belmopan and opened her store in June 2019 in Punta Gorda. She was inspired by her grandmother who made coconut oil for a living, and so decided to create her own business selling all natural and handmade beauty products and distributing them in small batches. The goal of the business is to empower women to embrace their natural beauty through self-care and self-love. Lorcia says, “To me, the best part of being a Woman Entrepreneur… is being SUPPORTED by other women.”
Unique Gift Shop
PRODUCT: Wooden Bookmark
OWNER: Margaret Hsia & the Wu Family
Steve Wu is a carpenter originally from Taiwan, who does beautiful woodwork and art with a large variety of Belizean woods. Furniture, gifts crafts are all apart of his products. His woodworks can be found in the Unique Gift Shop and the Made in Belize shop at the Phillip Goldson International Airport. The woodwork could also be found at the Unique Restaurant located in Camalote Village, Cayo District. This family business has been going for 25 years and counting.
Candy's Maya GiftShop
PRODUCT: Cux'tal (Maya Designed Bag)
This traditional Mayan work of art was made by the skilled hands of women who operate in a women’s cooperative located in the Aguacate Village of Southern Belize. The word Cux’tal is a two-syllable word pronounced, cush (the x has a “sh” sound) as in “cushion” and “tal” as pronounced in “talisman”. The art of weaving Cux’tal is handed down through generations and the family members of all ages (mostly girls) participate in the process. They can be made in all sizes and shapes (backpacks, runners, placemats) and designs range from simple stripes to elaborate designs. Many hours go into weaving a Cux’tal bag
PRODUCT: Ground Coffee
OWNER: Melany Kee
DML Bamboo Straw
PRODUCT: Bamboo Straws & Brush
OWNER: Mark Jacob
Mark Jacob was inspired to start his bamboo straw business back in 2017 when he was working at an eco-friendly bar at the Hamanasi Resort in Hopkins Village. The resort owners would order bamboo straws from the US, but Mark found that they were faulty. The straws were either too thin or too short or too long. This problem pushed Mark to start his research on making bamboo straws.
At a young age, Mark would go hunting with his father, so he was familiar with areas where bamboo trees would grow. He would go out and gather his bamboo sticks and come home and work on making the perfect straw. The process was filled with many trials and errors, but his determination to create a straw that would serve as a more eco-friendly alternative to the plastic straws motivated him to continue. Mark has been successful and produced many bamboo straws.
PRODUCT: Plantain Chips
ARTISTS: Emanuel & Vivianna Salazar