1 Year of the Pandemic: Little Village teen started sweets business during pandemic to help her future and family

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's been a year since the pandemic changed the trajectory of many people's lives. While some started pandemic hobbies like cooking or binge watching T.V, a 17-year-old from Little Village launched a Mexican sweets business called Sweet Picante.

"Our business has grown tremendously and I think that's really cool. We do have returning customers," said Xiomara Vargas, founder of Sweet Picante.

From home-made Chamoy, a sweet and spicy Mexican condiment, to other home-baked goods, the Little Village teen said uncertain financial times pushed her to think of solutions.

"I started this business to help pay for my college fund," said Vargas.

She said some of the money also goes to help her family. Last summer, Vargas and her mother Veronica started Sweet Picante. They said they've seen their business grow since they started the business. In the beginning, Vargas said they would only fill about eight to nine orders a week. Now, they're handling over 20 order a week.

In between virtual school breaks during the day, the teen said she handles the business. Veronica Vargas said her daughter's trade is just one example of the resiliency of her community.

"We are hard-working people in this neighborhood and it's always good to see the younger kids show positive," said Vargas.

Xiomara Vargas said support from the community is the secret ingredient to her sweet success.
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