Manny’s Story

“Me, my mother, my brother Carlos and my sister Maria arrived here in 1961. I was 11. I spoke no English. Our family was broke. I have no desire to visit Cuba now. That would disrespect my mother who worked so hard to bring us here.

I have never been a church guy but God is always within me. To me, if you don’t find God in a blade of grass, you certainly are not going to find him in church.

Three things are important to me: keeping my family together, staying strong physically and emotionally and weaving my values into what I do.

Manny’s Enterprise at 306 International Parkway in Sunrise keeps my extended family together because we all work here. There is nowhere else I would rather be than at work because my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and my passion for this business are all here. We have even set up an on-site day care area where the cousins can play together and have their parents nearby.

In 1979, I started Manny’s Enterprise in the garage of my Sunrise home. My wife Lori did the accounting and my office was the nightstand next to my bed.

Basically, we sell frozen seafood to restaurants. I am fascinated with how seafood is harvested and how the world’s ocean currents and weather affect the supply. I learned which parts of the world at what time of the year produce the best seafood. Right now, Ecuador and Peru are having epic rains that are affecting the shrimp harvest. The U.S. cannot compete with other countries when it comes to shrimp size and price. Other countries will always be able to sell it cheaper. Shrimp size has to be consistent. A restaurant customer will not like to be served three big shrimp and one small one.

When I worked at Pan American Seafood I learned how to sell seafood. After a while, Lori convinced me to work for myself. When I first started out, I used to get up at 4am to get the seafood, put it in the ice chest, then drive the delivery trucks from Vero Beach to Key Largo. Sometimes I would take my young daughter Raquel with me. Back then, I placed the orders, called the customers, did the payroll, drove the deliveries and formed the lasting relationships with clients. Even though now I have a 28,000 square foot warehouse, I make sure our business is still personal. Many of my clients I had in 1979 are still with me.

As a kid I carried around a lot of anger. I hit a teacher once. If someone insulted my Cuban heritage or talked down to me I would fight them. Martial arts is how I learned the to channel my aggression. It is not so much the 3rd degree black belt I earned: that is just a title. Martial arts is the stronger calling of discipline, self respect, self control, dignity and honor. I learned that the deeper my practice, the stronger my resolve. Now it has come full circle for me. On Sundays I teach martial arts to my nephews in my garage.

My formula for managing all the different personalities in this business can be summed up like this:
No one is better than anyone else.
We all clean the toilets.
Of all the workers here, I work the hardest and everyone else sees that.
The purpose of building this business is for my family who comes after me.
The real winners are the ones who take responsibility for their own actions: excuses are for losers.

It is never too late or too early to begin. What you achieve is a direct result of what you do or fail to do. Everyone has problems and obstacles to overcome. Time plays no favorites. Time will pass whether you act or not. If you’re not willing to work for your goals, don’t expect others to.

Oh, and that Spanish I spoke at age 11 because I didn’t know any English? That Spanish that sometimes was made fun of? My language and my heritage have helped me create a life and a legacy greater than I could have ever imagined.”

Manny’s Office Treasures

“The cross is a gift from a family member.

The hand-carved fish is from my nephew Alex. He made it for me when he was in high school.

The flag was my father’s. He was a police officer in Cuba. He came to Miami from Cuba and he honored liberty and freedom.

The button is from my daughter for my birthday.

The martial arts statue is from my nephew.”

7 thoughts on “Manny Quintero: Fish Tale

  • Christopher CruzDecember 8, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    Although Manny authors this biography, I feel he has left himself short, or perhaps, this forum did not have the capacity to inundate itself in what Manny truly brings to the table.

    I have yet to meet Manny , other than my daily phone calls to see if he was A – OK with product. However, this may be news to him, but he was already taught me so much.

    He has taught me that determination, persistence, and calmness go a long way. A calmness that a young, Cuban man like myself thought of as weak and trivial in the Wild, Wild West we call life. Boy was I wrong..

    I thank you Manny for writing this and for being not only a great client, but a mentor in the most subtle ways. And now I will thank you for making me a better man

    Best wishes to you sir

    Reply
  • Larry GoldDecember 8, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Manny, If only more people shared your values and outlook on life, the world would be a better place!

    Reply
  • Juan PujoDecember 8, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    When you read Mannys story is really what Manny is. Most importantly a true friend, a man with convictions and a man of his word. He has a beautiful family , which over the years I have been able to to know and that always treat me with love.
    I remember him coming from Broward to take his mother to Mercy Hospital, when his brother got sick, he was there for all and when my mother passed away, he was there. Manny what can I say.. I love you.

    With a lot of very hard work, dedication and love in all he does , he has been able to accomplish it

    Reply
  • Ben FrancisDecember 7, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    I’ve been a costumer of Manny’s for a few years now and he is a stand up individual who treats his customers like people and not just customers.

    Reply
  • Luann CollinsDecember 6, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    You are an extraordinary person who shows us all the true meaning of determination. I am so very proud to know you and to work with you my friend. Thank you for sharing this story.

    Reply
  • KimDecember 6, 2017 at 3:27 am

    Great story about life…. living humble and not forgetting where you came from and what made you who you are today. Congrats Manny.. thanks for sharing Alexis.

    Reply
  • liz buianiNovember 28, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Manny and his wife Lori are the kind of people America is made of. I Love his family and their values. So happy I know them. Cheers Manny, Liz B

    Reply

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