1999 Inductee - Emiliano Solorio Sr.

1999 Inductee - Emiliano Solorio Sr.


How does someone become rich in America? You start with a dream, add determination that gets you through bad times, and add generous portions of ten hour days. The recipe worked for Emiliano.

He turned an abandoned post office near the intersection of El Dorado and Clay street into a Mexican grocery store, the El Dorado Market. Since October, 1972 he has been selling Mexican food and pastry (worth driving miles for), Mexican candy, arts and crafts, reading material and other items found in few Stockton stores.

In 1994 Emiliano received four prestigious awards for his business success. The Mexican American Chamber of Commerce named him “Business Man of the Year” and gave him the “Award of Merit for Minority Enterprise Development.” The San Joaquin Board of Supervisors selected him “Minority Entrepreneur of the Year.”

Those honors are doubly impressive when you know Emiliano’s beginnings. He was born in Mexico in 1923. He started working full time when he was 12. After six years he opened his own grocery store but left it when he came to the United States under the Bracero Program in 1944. By spring time, Emiliano was thinning beets in Saguino, Michigan. After working in Michigan for six months, he was transferred to work in California picking oranges and lemons. After three years, he returned to Mexico but could not start another business due to lack of money.

Emiliano returned to the U.S. to work in the fields, returned to Mexico to manage a small hotel/cantina for almost two years, came back to the U.S. and finally settled in American in 1954. Emiliano found employment in farm labor camps. In the early ‘70’s he became a successful tomato grower in Isleton. A visit to a Mexican grocery store in Sacramento gave him the motivation to start his own.

The plan was to harvest one hundred acres of tomatoes and use the profits to get El Dorado Market going, but a levee break in June 1972, ruined his crop, and left him in debt. Less than four months later, El Dorado Market opened because of “much sacrifice, hardship and determination.