Jorge – The Seaside Shop Owner


Juan is a charismatic salesman who instantly connects with potential customers in a real and authentic way. As a black coral salesman on the coast of Cozumel in Mexico, Juan hopes to make an impact on each individual that passes by his beach and his store. His personality traits of being willing to be honest and open with all those who cross his path, lead to a connection of humanity and often, an increase in economic prosperity. This is his story:

The Past

As a frequent traveler to the United States, Juan eventually spent a few years in North Carolina working on his own in construction. He was always an expert in connecting with people on an emotional level and never seemed to find a long term career that used his skills to make a real difference in the world.

As a young adult, Juan returned home to his island Cozumel to work with other locals in creating black coral jewelry. Black coral is a coral reef plant that commonly grows off the coastline in Mexico. Juan and many other seaside shop owners search the shores and shallow seas for the authentic coral to make figurines, jewelry and even sculptures to sell to the many tourists that frequent his town. Black coral is a unique, durable and yet strangely flexible material. Juan’s life revolves around hand carving, modeling and uniquely designing souvenirs for his business. His hard work in creating authentic jewelry helps set him apart from other counterfeits in his same industry. He feels his authentic character and openness towards strangers help him share his perspective and insights. It not only builds business, but helps him enjoy his life through connecting with people.

Hurricane Delta Damage to Road

The Future

In October 2020 a devastating hurricane ravaged the coastline in Cozumel, ripping up roads, stores and foundations. Juan’s shop was completely leveled. In Mexico, shop owners don’t have any kind of insurance, so the storm threatens not only their physical safety, but their financial stability. The storm even wiped out internet access on his remote part of the coast, making his business temporarily a cash only business, hurting his financial stance even further.

Just after returning from the United States and reestablishing himself in Cozumel, Juan’s shop was destroyed. He is now picking up the pieces of dealing with pandemics limiting tourist travel and the 100 plus mile per hour winds splintering walls and lifting roads all in the same year. Juan hopes that with his positive attitude and authentic personality, he’ll be able to lift himself back up after being beat down several times recently. He looks forward to the future with a positive outlook and believes he can turn things around.

His Perspective

Juan lives for connecting with people, being able to meet and swap stories as well as goods. He knows that people see through the fake and insincere and has hoped that his sincerity in sharing the good and the bad that has occurred in his life will let him connect with people on an emotional level. He acknowledges that yes, this tends to lead to better sales for his jewelry, but even when it doesn’t, it leads to a better human connection, which he believes brings more happiness than money.

The year 2020 has been hard on people throughout the world, but Juan, dealing with both the worst natural disaster to hit his hometown in 15 years along with a once in a generation pandemic limiting his access to customers, has made life tough. Yet despite being open about challenges he faces, his positive perspective helps him continue to connect with people, bringing him joy and satisfaction in good times and bad.

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