The Entrepreneurial Spirit of The Jalice Brothers
By AnaMaria Bech
Click aqui para español- > Los emprendedores hermanos Jalice
Some things are just evident. The Cuban-born brothers have each other’s back. Their parents moved the family from Guantanamo to New Orleans when Rene was 15 and Javier was 8. They grew up in the Greater New Orleans area and integrated into their new country. But their Cuban roots are still very present.
Their entrepreneurial spirit showed early on. Right after high school, Rene began to work in sales and, in his ‘20s, was a top-performing sales representative at mobile stores. His manager gave him an idea to open his store, and with an old computer and second-hand furniture, he opened his first mobile store Wireless City on Magazine street. He included his then 16-year old brother in the business, and soon after, they had multiple stores in the Greater New Orleans area. That was the beginning of an entrepreneurial journey. Nowadays, they are still in business, and although they are in constant collaboration, their paths are much different.
Javier has focused entirely on his professional career as an attorney. After finishing his undergraduate degree at the University of New Orleans, Javier expressed an interest in attending Loyola University’s Law School. “Rene told me not to worry about the cost of school and that he would pay for it.” “It was just for motivation,” Rene says when asked if he fulfilled his promise to his younger brother. But it worked.
With over seven years of experience, mainly in employment and corporate law, the bilingual attorney is growing his independent practice, Jalice Law Firm. “The ability to work for me and wanting to assist clients in different areas of the law pushed me to accomplish the goal of opening my firm.” Jalice Law Firm’s main office is located at 3500 N. Hullen St. in Metairie, although Javier meets his clients wherever they need him.
Rene has been a role model for Javier, who admires his boldness and fearless attitude in life. When the wireless business was winding down, Rene quickly decided to purchase a business and came across Down the Hatch, an Irish neighborhood bar and grill located on 1921 Sophie Wright Pl. in the Garden District of New Orleans. His passion for cooking led him to own a restaurant. Nine years as its owner, Rene has improved the place. “I changed the menu, looked for the right team, remodeled, added a Cuban touch to it, and made it family-friendly.”
Now and then, Rene sprinkles some of his Latin flare with Latin nights, down-packed soccer watching parties, and if you have the Irish luck, you may even get to enjoy a taste of the whole pig roasted in traditional Cuban style. You may even run into one of Cuba’s best artists who have made a required stop at Down the Hatch when visiting New Orleans.
Thanks to Rene’s vision, Down the Hatch offers something unique to the regular customers, families enjoying a nice meal at the patio, the late college crowd, or during a special private event. You can enjoy your favorite sports at Down the Hatch, a delicious, varied menu, and great drinks.
Following a strong business ethic and relying on each other, the Jalice brothers continue to grow their respective businesses. The success of the two brothers makes their immigrant parents very proud. As Javier said, “we are fulfilling the very reason why they moved here from Cuba, for their children to have a better future.”
Rene follows a straightforward business approach that Javier has grasped and that all entrepreneurs should follow: “There is no failure. If someone else is doing it, I can do it, too.”
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