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SALOMÉ SÁNCHEZ

Happy Anniversary to Andrómeda

FMHOY - Fuerteventura

Moisés Jorge Naranjo - Director of Fuerteventura’s Tourism BoardThe Business called Andrómeda has just reached its 25th anniversary. It has been a long career led with strength and determination mostly from Salomé Sánchez, although at present her husband and her three children are all involved in the business.
But the beginning was difficult, after a serious illness when she was forbidden to drive, she got the idea of having “something of her own that she could take care of herself”.
We wanted her to speak about this herself to our readers, as an example to follow for many people who are going through tough times.

Salomé, how and when did you the idea of having “something of your own” that became Andrómeda?

I had been Pájara’s Culture Councillor for two years when I had to withdraw because of an illness. At the time, councillors did not get the unemployment benefit. When I was able to, I went to work with my aunt. One day I asked my husband to make changes in the garage as I got the idea of setting up a small bookshop there and that way I could be at home with the children at the same time.
With about one million Pesetas (from a single payment received from the Social Security), I bought shelves, a till and a telephone-fax. Then I hardly had anything left to buy merchandise!
With a friend, I went to Tenerife and after asking and looking we found two suppliers. One for the stationary and the other for miscellaneous and gifts. Later in Las Palmas I found another two suppliers, those were my first ones. I started working alone in the shop and I only used to sell to people from the village. This was in 1989.

When did you start expending your business to the rest of the island?

When I was able to drive again. I decided to go out and visit various businesses and I started going round the island every day from the North to the South. I had a small list of material I was able to provide and I started gathering clients mostly in touristic areas and schools.
At the time computer material was not selling very much, but as and when I got requests, I increased the number of articles I had to offer. It was generally everything required for offices at the time.

Do you remember your first clients?

Yes, and with gratefulness. In Jandía it was the Hotel Casa Atlantica and Robinson Jandía Playa.
In Costa Calma it was the Hotel Mónica Beach, the Hotel Taro and the Hotel Sotavento and in Corralejo, the Hotel Riu Tres Islas and the Riu Oliva Beach. There were a few builders also.
At the beginning, I used to go out some days to visit clients and others to deliver the orders.
When the business started to grow, we employed Pepa, Asu and Nieves, who were our first employees, but I carried on selling and delivering on my own.

And it continued like this until now?

No, then came the 1993 crisis that was very tough. The business stopped working because clients could not pay their invoices because of their financial troubles.

When did your husband Teófilo Sánchez start working in the business?

It was around that time that I suggested for him to leave his job so that we could work together. He was not completely convinced, but he did it and we started a company where each of us had responsibilities. He used to receive the merchandise, I would sell it and he would then deliver it.

Teófilo. - It was difficult to make the decision of leaving my job, I had worked for a very long time at the Public Projects department of Pájara’s Ayuntamiento.

Salomé. – But he decided to help me and we started improving the business. We started attending fairs on Mainland Spain and we met suppliers direct.

It seems that you complete each other in your couple…

Salomé. –We have known each other since we were 13 years old, since school!

Teófilo. – She is always busy, she cannot disconnect and hardly ever rests, not even to eat. I am a lot more relaxed, I love fishing and resting in my farm at the weekend.

Salomé. – If I am not working and thinking, I don’t feel right.

One way for you to switch off a little is to write. Tell us about this other side of yourself.

Yes, it is a way for me to take my mind away from work. I like to write poetry and at the moment I am writing the biography of my life. When I was a child I loved to study but I could not do it because of my family’s financial problems at the time. I would have liked to be a teacher, but I had to stop studying quite early in order to help my family.

Coming back to the present time, after so many years of work and fighting, Andrómeda is a settled business, a pioneer in services in Fuerteventura…

Yes, at present we have 17 employees in addition to my husband and myself and my three children who each have a separate role.
We have a shop that is open to the public in Pájara of about 180 m2, a storage area of 1.500 m2 and a large industrial unit in Gran Tarajal that we also use as storage.
I would like for Andrómeda to live for another generation; that would make Teófilo and me very proud.

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