We had the good fortune of connecting with Veronica Jimenez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Veronica, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
It all started when I was a young chica. I would often daydream about running my own special ice cream shop. Of course, I loved the classics but, in my mind, I’d dive deeper and imagine creating unique flavor combos with toppings that would make it more than just a satisfying treat- I imagined it as an experience all your senses could enjoy!
As I grew, my ideas developed even more as I tried new foods and flavors. My newfound love for pickles was the spark when I was in a serious sweet and sour stage and knew it was a key piece to what I wanted to create.
But then, things took a turn when my family and I suddenly moved from our home here in San Diego to south Texas. I was pregnant and had become lactose intolerant and it really threatened my deep and long-standing love for ice cream. It definitely made it challenging when my belly wanted one thing and my body was telling me no. I was determined to find a way to satisfy the cravings I was having- anyone that’s ever been pregnant or knows someone who’s been pregnant knows what I mean. You just don’t deny a pregnant lady with her sights on something.
And so, with the inspirations of the neighborhood, I found my way around to delight my cravings in the Raspados shops that would also serve sorbets and Italian ice that were topped with a variety of things that blew my mind; pickles being one of them! My dream as a girl was set on fire and as I enjoyed each sweet creation- with each bite I was taken back to my childhood when I would visit my family in Mexico.
In the hot summer sun in the dead of Texas, there just wasn’t much else that was quite as gratifying as mango sorbet topped with all sorts of candies and chamoy and chile-lime powder that was my all-time favorite as a girl!
It’s been an absolute dream come true to see what was once just a local young girls’ dream come alive this summer after thinking I might never have the opportunity to move back to this fine city that’s always had my heart. Despite all the challenges of trying to open a new small business in the midst of a pandemic I’m so grateful to say “We’re open and so excited to serve our San Diego family.”
What should our readers know about your business?
To me and our business family, Baja Mama’s is more than just a business- it’s a vehicle we can use for change and to bring joy to our community- even more so now that we are trying to move forward and recover from the hardships brought on because of COVID. We see this as a way to give moments of comfort and enjoyment through our desserts that take us back to the carefree days of our childhood.
With Covid have come many challenges- ones none of us could have expected or prepared for but partnering with each other I believe that as we succeed we can only better lift up our neighbors and community so that we can all grow stronger. Sure, all the roadblocks and mountains we had to climb could have stopped us but through COVID our determination only grew as we saw friends and family be affected. We are excited to be a part of the rebuilding of our city through the economy, creating more jobs, and having more opportunities to give back. This is not for us to keep as a blessing for only us but to expand it to all who we can reach- whether that’s through our desserts and food, working with our employees to encourage them in their dreams and lead them to be contributors to our community, or through the organizations we plan to partner with to volunteer and serve others. Through this I’ve had to learn and I’ve grown to see that with patience, perseverance, and surrounding yourself with a great team you really can go far. Rather than shrink back I am taking hold of every opportunity I can. In business you just can’t do it alone, and why would you want to? By giving someone the opportunity to work to their strengths and help build them up in their weaknesses we can all go far- together. In this, I’ve also begun to find my voice- for the things I want and the things I need. It’s always okay to ask for help and give help as well- that’s how we can continue to grow. I want people to know that as much as I have strived to bring this vision to life with an incredibly hard-working team beside me- you are not just buying delicious foods but providing for a team and their families who really want to make a difference.
My hope is that as we grow that the people we serve will embrace our creative twist to classic mexican desserts to affect change within and beyond our shop doors. I love that we have made it to be so that when you walk into our doors you can leave your reservations at the door and try something new and even create your own twist on our treats. This world has plenty of its own limits but we want to be a part of creating inspiration and opening our minds to greater experiences beyond the norm. We want to evoke memories, revive passions, and rekindle dreams. I’m a living testament to a dream come true.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
A list of fun activities is not hard to come up with in an awesome city like ours- you could literally be in a completely unique experience just driving 15 minutes in any direction and if you’re feeling the mountains calling an hour or so drive and you’re there.
If my good friend was in town we’d definitely get lots of time in at the beach- being near the water is the ultimate form of self-care in my humble opinion. Pacific Beach, of course, is at the top of my list of beaches but that’s just a little bias talking. We have an entire county of beautiful coast that can take you from morning to night with lots to do and savor.
Spending time close to the ocean and smelling the sweet salty air, talking, and enjoying good company is what I’d want to share with anyone who’d consider visiting. There’s just no shortage of amazing places to visit and you know food is definitely a highlight. I don’t think I could recall a good memory that didn’t involve good food!
Breakfast would have to be spent at least one day at Perry’s near Old Town, family-owned and a very cool mix of my favorite cuisine; Mexican and Italian. A recent favorite for breakfast and brunch is Swami’s Cafe; also family-owned and such delicious food. French toast with strawberries and a Watermelon Mimosa is a must! The best part is you don’t leave feeling like a whale took up residence in your gut.
For lunch, Las Cuatro Milpas in Barrio Logan is a classic and worth the wait. You can’t beat food that tastes just like mama used to make. I’d also be sure to make it to Mujeres Brew House for their pink tacos. PB Ale house would be one of my local top picks; not only for the great atmosphere and food but for their heart for sustainability, giving back and supporting the community and their team culture. It’s very inspiring! Another lunch spot I’d make sure to visit is PB Poke House. Their hustle and dedication to awesome, fresh food is something I really respect and have a heart for supporting.
The atmosphere of Little Italy is a can’t miss experience for dinner, the culture and community is something to be admired. Italian would be the obvious pick but it does have a great variety of offerings sure to please anyone. Biergarden in Encinitas (shout out to DAVE) is another great pick- the ambiance alone is amazing! And, of course, I couldn’t leave out Mr. Tempo of King & Queen Cantina! He’s a boss when it comes to food, service, and as a restaurateur- can we say #goals!
After a great day in the sun with extraordinary food we’d retreat to the mountains at an awesome spot to view the moon and stars at Desert View Park. Perfect ending; full stomachs, empty plates, cool skies, and warm hearts.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost, I thank God. If it weren’t for His hand in my life; guiding and encouraging me I can’t imagine any of this would have been possible. My kids have also been such a huge part of getting here; their patience and understanding of the hard work and long hours that it’s taken to get here I will not let it be in vain, as well as the tremendous support of my family and friends. I’d like to thank my mentor, Charles Saldana, for believing in me and being so generous to me and my family through his support and trusting in me with this vision. Lastly, but certainly not least I have to thank everyone that came alongside me to open our doors and to our Baja Mama’s Team that have taken ownership of our vision and are bringing it to life.