GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - City employees met with local residents at Greenville City Hall Wednesday morning to board the Jolly Trolley and enjoy a taste of the town.
As part of Greenville’s Minority Enterprise Development Week, the event was sponsored in collaboration with the city and Greenville Utilities Commission. The tour included stops at The Breakfast Bar, Cinnamon Bistro, and Villa Verde.
This week is meant to shed a special highlight on businesses that experience inherent disadvantages within the community.
By taking this tour, local foodies had the chance to show their support and contribute to the city’s theme of “Back in the Black: Putting Our Dollars to Work.”
“The pandemic caused a lot of businesses to pivot and restructure and they were drastically impacted,” said MED Week Organizer Danisha Harris. “Our MWBEs (Minority Business Women Enterprise) are already experiencing challenges just unique to their positions so now more than ever it is so important that we invest and support these MWBEs so they can sustain and grow.”
Owner of restaurant Villa Verde, Jay Bastardo, is happy to be a part of the city event, especially with this month being National Hispanic Heritage Month.
“I’ve been given the easiest tool there is to get people to like you, which is food, right?” said Bastardo. “We celebrate our heritage by doing what we’ve been trained by our moms and dads and our heritage... which is to work hard and do it in a way that honors God and honors our family and our heritage. So, we are just proud to do it.”
Bastardo grew the Villa Verde franchise from an empty suitcase and five dollars in his pocket to a successful area food truck. Now, he owns both locations of the brick and mortar restaurant and his success does not stop there.
He is now the proud owner of Harvey’s Breakfast Place on South Memorial Dr.
“We get to continue to write the story, but we honor the one that’s been written for us.”
Villa Verde is part of the city’s “In the Black” challenge. Customers can upload their receipts online from purchases made this week to compete for prizes from the city.
The goal of city hall is to support minority and women-owned enterprises with $11,000 spent by the community for the 11th year this week is being honored.