Mike Esquivel knows the importance of hard work to get ahead. He started working for his grandfather at the age of twelve and as soon as he was of legal age to get into the fast food industry, he took the first position he could get as a dishwasher. He worked hard, taking extra shifts, volunteering to do more and he soon graduated up the ladder until he was working as a waiter in the upper end restaurants in Edmonton while supporting himself through college.
He took no holidays or extra time off and was no stranger to receiving the employee of the month award. “My focus was to learn and train so I could move up the ladder within the corporation,” says Mike. He wanted to understand this industry and all aspects of the micro business systems. His hard work paid off and he was recruited by Planet Hollywood to train to be one of the site managers. “I watched my managers and learned what not to do and my efforts paid off. I trained in San Diego then finally got my own restaurant to manage in Vancouver.”
Mike spent four years in Vancouver before returning to Lethbridge to help his parents with a new business venture they started.
“Everything I learned about a responsible work ethic came from my parents”, explains Mike. “I watched my mom and dad work sometimes as many as three jobs so I could have the educational opportunities and a career of my choice. So when I had an opportunity to help them, I was glad to come back to Alberta.”
However he missed the fast pace of the restaurant business and in 2008 when an opportunity came for his wife Chrysline and he to purchase EDO Japan in Park Place Mall, they branched out in a new direction. “I had a clear understanding of my capabilities in the restaurant environment so when the opportunity came our way, we didn’t hesitate.”
Mike stated, “I know what customers want and I know how to give it to them. They want to experience good taste, a clean environment and excellent service. So that was our intention.” Soon their success with the first store developed into an opportunity to purchase a second and eventually a third EDO Japan location. “Our first location had been open about a year when the head corporation offered us the second store.”
“I had no idea of how to go about the financial implications of purchasing a second store when I learned about Community Futures. The people there were so easy to work with and taught me the ins and outs of the financial world of growing your business.” Mike described how the people at Community Futures believed in him and in his business succession plan, offering sound business advice and the financial assistance to reach his future business goals.
The past six years have been a whirl wind for Mike and Chrysline, Not only has their businesses grown by three but so has their family, with a daughter and then a set of twins. “I am busy in all aspects of my life, but the most important thing I have learned these past few years about owning a business of my own is that life is about balance. My life has to be balanced between business and family. I only have so much time, and I want some of that time to be about memories for my children.” As dedicated as Mike’s work ethic is, he fully understands through experience that time is what a family really needs.
Mike describes himself as a happy man and he believes life is about happiness in his business world; happy family, happy staff and happy customers. It is a formula that works for him and the high expectations he places on himself. He is definitely a young entrepreneur who is serious about his work, understands his business, enjoys life and has lots and lots of energy.
Park Place Mall
L04, 501 - 1st Avenue South
Lethbridge, Alberta T1J 4L9
3703 Mayor Magrath Drive South
Lethbridge, Alberta T1K 8A8
#23, 550 University Drive West
Lethbridge, Alberta T1J 4T3