Elia Rivera, owner Melina’s Foods, LLC.

“We are targeting the all-natural,gluten-free, organic market,” Rivera says. “People are more conscientious of what they’re eating so we want to target the audience that’s looking for lower calories, but yet at the same time good flavors in the food.” Salcido will work as the main food scientist, and Rivera will be “out in the trenches, in the sales,” Rivera says.

Although they only began doing the work and sampling for Melina’s Foods recently, the two have big plans for the near future. Through a federal grant, the two will open a commercial kitchen at the Midland’s Latino Community Development Corporation (MLCDC). “We’re opening the market in the commercial kitchen – not only for our recipes, but the Hispanic community, so anyone can create their own recipes under that commercial kitchen,” Rivera says. “We don’t have a lot of commercial kitchens in Omaha to choose from, so I think this will have a major impact in the South Omaha community.” Elia Rivera, owner Melina’s Foods, LLC.

Adrian Salcido noticed Rivera’s success,and reached out – hoping to join ventures and create a new brand featuring chips, salsa and more foods that could flourish under the umbrella of Salcido’s already established business. Rivera agreed, and the two joined forces. An LLC supports their vision: Melina’s Foods, LLC.

Her first business, Rivera says, came about by what she calls fate. Rivera brought homemade chips and salsa to a Mother’s Day potluck, where she received an overwhelming amount of praise, so she ran with it. From there, she worked hard to develop her product and brand to get it into the market. The most difficult part for her first business, she says, was establishing the brand – so the new venture with Salcido –Melina’s Foods, LLC – shouldn’t have as much of a challenge. Rivera plans to call on already established connections across the U.S. to get Melina’s Foods into the markets immediately.

“You just have to believe in your product and the rest will fall into place