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Fish Tale

Who: Manny Quintero

City: Sunrise

Quote: “For me, every day is Christmas morning.


Manny Quintero (Photo Credit: Manny's Seafood)
Manny Quintero (Photo Credit: Manny's Seafood)

"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.



Keeping my family together


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 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.


Staying strong physically and emotionally


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.


Weaving my values into what I do


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."

 

“I am Anita Mitchell and I collect people stories, much the same way people collect shoes or baseball cards or Lladro porcelain figurines. During my 26 years at WSVN7, I had the front-row seat to people stories and it was there I learned about the extraordinariness of the ordinary.

Since retiring from television news, I serve on the Board of Directors of Different Brains, a charitable foundation that supports neurodiverse adults. I also serve on the Board of Directors of the Broward County Sports Hall of Fame. We honor local residents who have set unique standards of excellence through sports.

Since 2004, I have swum competitively with our local Swim Fort Lauderdale Masters Swim Team (SFTL).

I don’t really know how the writing and the swimming and the neurodiverse and honoring local sports figures are connected but I know in my heart that they are.

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