AUSTIN, Texas - Small Business Saturday is essential for many locally owned businesses and thanks to the community Gabriela Bucio has created, Central Texas is always supporting her latest venture.
"This is my office at a home in downtown," Bucio says showing us the headquarters of Gabriela’s Group, the company behind the famous Gabriela’s restaurant. "This is where we keep all of our merchandise."
Gabriela Bucio is Mexican born from Michoacán. Her company also owns Gabriela’s South, Taquero Mucho downtown and Domain, Revival Coffee, Mala Vida and Seareinas.
"People follow me on Instagram, people follow me on social media and yes it looks cool online, but we make it look cool and fun," Bucio says. "There’s a lot of work that goes behind the scenes that people don’t get to see."
Today Bucio is meeting with the marketing and events team, the people she says make things run. She boasts the fact that she's never placed a for hire ad for that group, the talent has always come knocking on her door.
"I look up to them a lot and they keep things fresh," Bucio says.
She says the young group reminds her of where her journey started.
"When I moved here from the Valley, from McAllen, Texas, I started to work as a bartender to make extra money to be able to afford to go out to all the music shows that Austin has to offer and I developed a passion for creating cocktails and creating drinks," Bucio says. "My brother Arturo was already running restaurants on his own and so was my younger brother Salvador, so it was just natural that we would get together and build our own thing, our own restaurant."
With their skills, knowledge and passion, they've built an empire in Central Texas focusing on a community they didn't see represented here.
"Mexican or Latino venues we’re on the outskirts of Austin. I don’t know why that was, but I wanted to provide a closer venue to my fellow Latinos," Bucio says.
With that in mind, she got to work, but acknowledges things were not easy, this business woman says her success is due to her hard work.
"Well, I think the hardest thing was that we didn’t get any loans, we don’t have any loans, I don’t have any generational wealth so we had to start with literally, nothing," Bucio said.
Some in the community have dubbed her la Reina del Sur, Queen of the South, with traces of their humble beginnings still seen at her first signature restaurant Gabriela's downtown.
"If you look at Gabriela Downtown it has remained the same, my landlord gifted me the furniture, it's used furniture, I was a bartender, the server, my brother was in the kitchen cooking and my fiancé was helping us wash dishes," Bucio says. "It was really hard at the beginning but luckily, we were able to be successful in a short period of time to where we started hiring people."
She credits that success to her comunidad, filling a void in Austin that had long been ignored.
"It's not like I purposely do these things, it's just I’m just being myself and I’m being authentic and I mean I don’t know any other way," Bucio said. "Like I don’t sit around here [thinking] like how can I create this to make this happen? We’re just being ourselves."
Gabriela’s Houston is set to open up any day now with plans to start franchising restaurants across the state and ultimately the country.