Hispanic Entrepreneurs Oral History Project
Summary of Interview
Julio Cesar Viramontes was born in a small town in Mexico around Fort Hancock, Texas. Viramontes attended Cathedral High School in El Paso but did not graduate. He was introduced to the garment industry when he began working at Supreme Laundry. Viramontes was able to purchase his own Laundromat in Canutillo while still working at Supreme Laundry. He also had to opportunity to purchase a Supreme Laundromat in central El Paso, so he became the owner of two El Paso Laundromats. Viramontes also began washing blue jeans for El Paso companies after hours. The Laundromat then became an industrial cleaner, which allowed Viramontes to buy two more Laundromats. An increase in the blue jean business made Viramontes change from coin operated machines to washing for Sun Apparel. This made business boom for ten years until the free trade agreement made companies move to Mexico, so Viramontes followed. As business changed Viramontes started acquiring textiles which took more labor. Trends changed which lead from stonewash jeans to fashion jeans, which also requires more labor. Viramontes business kept up with changes which made him adapt his business approach. He even opened his own liquor store in order to be a local El Paso business, but he had to sell it after suffering a financial loss. Viramontes has had a hard time keeping business through the recession but has kept a good relationship with the banks. He also depends on the value of his land which is estimated in the millions. Viramontes says that El Paso was a good environment for his business but it would have been better if he was not hispanic. Viramones has learned from previous business mistakes such as offering too much trust to people and not being on top of financial records. He closes with saying that fairness and giving other opportunities has been key to his business.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
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Interview with Julio Cesar Viramontes by Homero Galicia, 2009, "Interview no. 1543," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.