Peruvian beverage Inca Kola

Refreshing Peruvian beverage Inka Cola growing popularity in the USA

We welcomed Peruvian beverage Inca Kola as one of 46 exhibitors at the 2017 Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch your Business Competition

What began as a dream for Cuban born Luis Jardines in the eighties is today the home of Peruvian beverage Inka Cola in the United States. Continental Food and Beverage Inc./Inka Cola USA began when Jardines started distributing the drink in a taxicab throughout businesses and bodegas in Miami.

Peruvian beverage Inca Kola

Peruvian beverage Inca Kola

Almost four decades later, his dream has become a successful company that is Coca-Cola’s bottler and exclusive distributor for the soft drink brand Inca Kola in the United States. The beverage is distributed in more than 40 states and in 20 countries around the world, in addition to other brands of food and beverage products.

The founder’s granddaughter Elizabeth Husks Berman, president of the company; her husband, Randall Berman, COO, and nephew, Julio Coen, general manager, lead this family run business headquartered in Clifton, NJ.

(L to R) Julio Coen, Liz and Randall Berman from Peruvian beverage Inca-Kola at NSA Trade Show

(L to R) Julio Coen, Liz and Randall Berman from Peruvian beverage Inca-Kola at NSA Trade Show

In an interview with Abasto Magazine, Elizabeth Husks Berman said that the secret of Continental Food and Beverage Inc. success, “is to work as a team and identify the talent that there is in the people who work in our different markets; that is why we have been able to achieve success in such extended territories”.

Continental continues to grow in the USA with Peruvian beverage Inca Kola and new products

Randall Berman added that another part of their success is due “to the connection that we have with the community. We are supporting chambers of commerce, local community organizations, civic centers. With these connections and the outreach they offer, they begin to speak positively about our brand and our products; those comments are passed by word of mouth and become very powerful promotional tools.”

Peruvian beverage Inca Cola

Randall Berman talks to Abasto Magazine during NSA Trade Show

In addition to Inca Kola’s distribution, the company has opened its doors to other ethnic products through its Continental brand, which are also having success among the Hispanic consumers in the United States.

“Obviously Continental has not stayed back representing a single product; we also offer, for instance, Malta El Sol, that is a leader in the malts category right now,” Coën said.

In addition, Continental Food and Beverage Inc./Inca Kola USA aims at conquering the American soft drink market and they are opening doors through sports, Randall Berman commented to Abasto. “We are sponsoring Mixed Martial Arts combat sport competitions; we sponsored the Legacy Fighting Alliance(LFA) and fighter Valentina Shevchenko who is going to fight for the world championship of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Through this sport, we have access to national and international audiences,” he explained.

Last August, the National Supermarket Association (NSA), the organization that gathers independent Hispanic supermarkets, recognized Continental Food and Beverage Inc./Inca Kola USA as Company of the Year during their business trade show held in New York.

Peruvian beverage Inca Kola

2017 Company of the Year by NSA Trade Show

A Spanish version of this article was originally published in Abasto Magazine under the title LA EMPRESA QUE HIZO FAMOSO AL REFRESCO PERUANO INCA KOLA EN USA written by Hernando Ramirez-Santos.

Media Jurors ready for Pitch Competition at 2017 Latina SmallBiz Expo

Six Media Jurors will help create a Star for One Night at the Pitch your Business to the Media Competition, to take place this coming November 9 from 4:00pm to 9:00pm. Ten brave Latina entrepreneurs are competing to grab the 2017 Best Business Award and the grand prize of $1000 in cash at the NJIT Campus Center Atrium, 150 Bleeker St. in Newark NJ.

Proceeds for the General Admission tickets will be donated to Puerto Rico and Mexico Disaster Relief through the Hispanic Federation.

Media Jurors

2017 Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition Media Jurors

“Every year we invite a number of relevant media personalities to help us decide which Latina entrepreneur participating at our Pitch your Business to the Media Competition deserves to be crowned as the Best Business of that year,” said Susana G Baumann, Editor-in-Chief, and organizer of the event. “This year, we are honored to have six outstanding Jurors coming from radio, television, print and digital press, and social media,” she added.

Media Jurors will listen to a “pitch” –a short presentation to create interest in a story and to find out if that media is willing to use it for a feature article or an interview. They will choose a winner based on a criteria decided by and their own judgment as a media professional and entrepreneur.

A diverse background of Media Jurors to create a Star for One Night

“One of the goals of this contest is to help Latina small businesses promote their products or services in front of media, something that rarely happens because there is never enough budget to buy media space when you are a micro-entrepreneur. I know this very well because I was a small business owner for over 20 year,” Baumann explained.

The participating Media Jurors at this year Pitch Competition come from a diverse background and media outlets:

  1. Angel Vazquez joined Univision New York team in 2016 as Director of Communications and Community Empowerment for WXTV Univision 41 & WFUT UNIMAS 68.

    Angel Vazquez, Univision 41 Media Jurors

    Angel Vazquez, Univision 41

A Puerto Rican by birth and a New Yorker by choice, Angel began his media career working as Sales & Marketing Manager for the disappeared newspaper “Noticias del Mundo”. After the closing of that publication, he became part of “HOY” team as Events Manager. In 2007 ImpreMedia, owner of El Diario La Prensa, bought “HOY” and Vazquez started working as Marketing Director for El Diario La Prensa.

Since his beginning in El Diario, Angel has given his unconditional support, both professional and personal to this task. “When you come to New York, your heart is painted in many colors and we become part of each Latin American country,” says Angel.

  1. A North Carolina native, Laura Calhoun Borton is the Trade Show Specialist and Business Development at Abasto Magazine.

    Laura Calhoun Boro, Abasto Magazine Media Jurors

    Laura Calhoun Borton, Abasto Magazine

Laura has grown up in the Hispanic food industry. Upon graduating from Appalachian State University with a degree in public health, Laura took a job at her family’s Hispanic food distribution company, La Tortillería. Five months into her new job she was introduced to Maria Hernandez, a local Mexican woman who made and sold a traditional Mexican corn bread called “Pan de Elote” to support her family.

A few months after meeting Maria, Laura quit her job at La Tortillería to partner with her and help grow the small business. Once they successfully develop the product and distribution network, Laura decided to pursue other opportunities. She was offered a job at Abasto Magazine at the beginning of 2017. Her advice: “Don’t be afraid to try or start over. Be thankful for new opportunities, even if they aren’t ones you were planning on”.

  1. Kenton Clarke, is the founder & CEO of Omnikal (formerly DiversityBusiness Inc.), the Nation’s largest, inclusive business organization, built to empower all entrepreneurs and small to medium sized businesses through “a powerful social B2B platform” that fuels real growth & success.

    Kenton Clarke, Omnikal Media Jurors

    Kenton Clarke, Omnikal

He started out in the streets of Bridgeport, CT, collecting trash alongside his father and grandfather, some of the city’s first African-American business owners. “Those early days in the trash business taught me the value of hard work and discipline. I spent my early years getting my hands dirty, while other kids were learning to keep theirs, clean,” Clarke said.

He founded Computer Consulting International Inc., which became one of the largest privately held IT consulting firms in the Northeast. He then went on to develop a strategy for helping connect companies who were interested in working with minority-owned businesses. became the place every media outlet, from Forbes to CNBC, would consider for their facts and figures, and it even won several awards for its content and design.

  1. Vicky Llerena, a Millennial entrepreneur and social media guru, is at the helm of Social Vibes Media, a media communications and content creation company located in the New York metro area.

    Vicky Llerena, Social Vibes Media Media Jurors

    Vicky Llerena, Social Vibes Media

Vicky is Social Vibe Media’s host, content creator, and public relations strategist. No amateur to the media industry, Vicky brings with her over eight years of experience having worked at Univision WXTV-41, Hudson Media Group, and PRNewswire. She works with clients to manage all their media communications needs.

Vicky Llerena founded Social Vibes Media at the age of 28. “Entrepreneurship at that age,” she said, “is not for everyone. Every millennial at some point wants to try to become an entrepreneur thinking it looks like they can achieve an overnight success but I worry that younger generations may develop the wrong idea,” she said.

She does not want to discourage Millennials from seeking entrepreneurial opportunities; she just has a piece of advice based on her experience. “Save for an entire year, reduce costs as much as possible, partner with others, subcontractors and freelancers who can complement your services and join organizations such as your local chamber of commerce or industry associations,” she recommended.

  1. Juan Guillen, a veteran media personality, is the founder and CEO of DigiTech Enterprises Corp., a multi-platform media company that connects with the acculturated Hispanic community, under the brand, LatinTRENDS.

    Juan Guillen, LatinTRENDS

    Juan Guillen, LatinTRENDS

LatinTRENDS mission is “To unmask the struggles and showcase the triumphs, beauty, and rich diversity of the Hispanic culture, and make everyday life simpler, entertaining and inspirational,” he said. “We are committed to listening to the needs of our audience and connecting them with content and brands that will help alleviate their challenges and obtain their dreams.”

Driven by his entrepreneurial spirit, he postponed his studies to open the first of his business ventures at the age of 18. He has owned, grown, operated and sold various businesses in retail, concessions service, real estate and management sectors.

A serial entrepreneur whose passion is entrepreneurship, he enjoys teaching about the entrepreneurial mindset and how this “way-of-being-way-of-thinking” can catapult entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs to unlimited heights. His other passion is inspiring people who feel stuck to see the possibilities they have and confidently take action to get what they want out of life.

6. Bert Baron is currently the morning show host on 1450 WCTC in New Jersey, heard weekdays from 6 to 9 AM.

Bert Baron, Media Jurors

Bert Baron, 1450 WCTC

A recent inductee to the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Radio Hall Of Fame, he is the host of “Jersey Central with Bert Baron”, the show that provides an interesting daily look at “all things Jersey”. From politics to pop culture, to newsmakers and entertainment, Bert covers it all each day.

Bert met Susana G Baumann at a networking event in Perth Amboy and he immediately felt compelled to participate as a Media Juror for the Pitch Competition. “It is not frequent to see this type of event around New Jersey and I felt I could bring a different perspective to the competition,” he told

Join us to celebrate the economic power of Latinas small businesses in the Northeast

Please join the Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch Competition this November 9 from 4:00pm to 9:00pm when ten brave Latina entrepreneurs will compete for the 2017 Best Business Award and the grand prize of $1000 in cash at the NJIT Campus Center Atrium, 150 Bleeker St. in Newark NJ.

Proceeds for the General Admission tickets will be donated to Puerto Rico and Mexico Disaster Relief through the Hispanic Federation. For registration, please visit:



startups and entrepreneurs

US Hispanic businesses reach staggering numbers: 4.37 million and counting

US Hispanic businesses are at over 4.3 million, a number that has grown steadily for the last two decades beating growth of any other businesses in the United States. This article was published on Abasto Magazine by Contributor Kimberly Olivera.
startups and entrepreneurs US Hispanic businesses
It’s no surprise that Hispanics are a crucial part of this nation. As of July 1st, 2016, the Hispanic population reached a whopping 57.5 million, making them the largest ethnic or racial minority in the United States. With those kind of numbers, there’s no denying that they are a big part of this country.
With the rising of Hispanics in the U.S., there is also a rising of Hispanic-owned businesses. According to Business Wire, Hispanic-owned businesses have grown 31.6 percent since 2012, more than double the growth rate of all businesses in the U.S (13.8 percent). They show consistency and growth, with a projection of there being 4.37 million Hispanic-owned businesses this year.
Published in partnership with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the 2017 study of Hispanics in Business details the growth of Hispanic business ownership, high levels of entrepreneurship and contributions to the U.S. economy. These numbers were revealed at the USHCC National Convention in Dallas, Texas this week.
According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely to start a business in comparison to the general population. Hispanic entrepreneurs represent 24 percent of all firms, compared to 10 percent a decade ago, which is a 140 percent increase.

Increase in Hispanic women-owned businesses

Latina entrepreneurs US Hispanic Business

A group of Latina entrepreneurs at the 2016 Pitch your Business Competition (L to R: Lu Camarena Mesulam, Nelly Reyes, Susana Salazar, Susana G Baumann, Maggie Casera, Jennagloria Pacheco, Hipatia Lopez)

Sales from Hispanic-owned businesses contribute $709 billion to the U.S. economy and between 2012 and 2017, 27.4 percent of the growth in all businesses in the U.S. can be attributed to Hispanic-owned businesses.

Not only are Hispanic businesses increasing, but businesses owned by Hispanic women are also rising in number. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of female Hispanic-owned businesses grew 87 percent, from 800,000 to 1.5 million. This is the largest increase in female businesses of any race or ethnicity.

“Throughout the United States, Hispanic entrepreneurs play a crucial role in supporting the growth of local communities,” said Javier Palomarez, President & CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “They create American jobs, maintain our leadership in global markets, and contribute toward the mutual prosperity that makes America’s economy the greatest in the world.”

About Kimberly Olivera

Bilingual Social Media Coordinator of Abasto Magazine. She is a recent graduate with a Bachelors of Science in Journalism, as well as a freelance writer and photographer
personal brand

Your personal brand, an asset or a liability for your business?

Is your personal brand a benefit to your business or career or it carries a load of negative reputation? The way people perceive you -customers, professionals you deal with on a regular basis, potential partners or investors, bosses or colleagues and more- can make or break your future!

A version of this article was published on Abasto Magazine for the July/August 2017 issue. 

Abasto Magazine personal brand


At, we basically tell stories: stories of success but also stories of struggle; stories of ideas people have developed through their businesses or careers; their vision and perspectives, of innovation and achievement. We also tell the story of the journeys that have led them to be who they are now.

Telling your story is a simple way to refer to your personal brand, one of the most important skills to acquire if you want to be successful in your business  or career and stand out from the crowd.

Companies invest hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly to define and refine their brand. Your company brand is the most valuable asset you have, as it tells your customers about your company’s culture, your products, your services and your position in your community. The way your customers perceive your brand is instrumental in influencing their behavior to be loyal to your products or services. As consumers, we buy products from brands we like.

However, as a business owner, you are the face of your company and your personal brand matters… a lot.

Are you familiar with the story of Oprah and her struggle with poverty, abuse and weight loss, her determination to build a media empire and focus on education of underrepresented youth? Or the story of Sofia Vergara, a Colombian actress who struggled in her country of origin only to become a Hollywood icon and one of the most powerful Latinas in the country?

The same way, your personal brand matters to your customers; they want to know who they buy from. Are you a role model in your community? What is your purpose? What were your struggles when you started your business or what personal sacrifices you had to make in order to be where you are now?

Technology and privacy affecting your personal brandpersonal brand

In today’s world and with the expansion of technology, we have all become public figures –yes, if you have a cell phone or you are connected to the Internet, your life is not private anymore.

Taking control of your story or personal brand is instrumental, not only in advancing your vision in the middle of millions of other stories but also in narrowing the potential for damages to your reputation or blowing chances for access to opportunities.

Only you can tell your story in a unique way that can then be multiplied by your network, your industry or the social media wave. In the same fashion, someone else can take it to pieces and multiply it virally; and that might cause irreparable damage to your reputation or take a long time to be restored.

Think of all the opportunities you might have at telling your story in a unique way that can help you advance your personal or business goals by getting the attention from a potential client, a leader in your industry or a crowd in front of you.

Superheroes, a new path for your personal brand

We also live in a world of superheroes, and everybody is looking for the next superhero to come rescue them –corporations, customers or voters alike. You can become your customers’ superhero or superheroine if your unique story fits into their needs.

Whether it is a large corporation for which you are trying to become a vendor or your regular by-passer customers, people you deal with on a regular basis have now a world of resources to get to know who you are at their fingertips.

Instead of letting those resources plunge you, you need to take control and present yourself as the hero or heroine of your own story. Tell them your “secret” unique ability or combination of abilities that can “ease their pain”–being helping them solve a problem, advancing their organization’s mission or improving their profitability. And those abilities need to be intertwined in your unique story.

This is one of our clients’ testimonials about telling her story on

Carmen Milagro, Borbon Skincare personal brand

Carmen Milagro, Borbon Skincare


“First, the simple fact that the story of the birth of Borbon Skincare is out there in print is phenomenal, but the article also allows readers to know me as a real person, not simply a faceless company.

“Second, it has allowed me to ‘see’ my story unfold through the eyes of a reader and that is an invaluable tool for me. I am constantly evaluating and learning the way in which I speak and how it comes across to others. This helps me in presentations, interviews, as I am constantly learning about myself.”

Carmen Milagro, founder and CEO of Borbon Skincare


If you are in business, you sell ideas, products, and services but most importantly, you sell your own reputation. Don’t let your personal brand become a liability for your company. Learn to tell your story and let your personal brand become your biggest asset.

Do you want your story to be told on for FREE*? Are you a Latina business owner with 5 employees or less? Do you sell your own products, services or ideas? 

Then email me at and you will have your glowing moment of fame on! 

*Certain restrictions apply.

Freshie Feminine Care Review of Pitch your Business to the Media Competition


Abasto Magazine Latinas in the USA and Abasto Magazine join efforts to support Latinas in the USA

We are celebrating Small Business Week with this great announcement! The reason to join efforts? Latinas in the USA are the largest growing demographics entering the labor force, opening businesses and increasing their economic power but their rise to decision-making position still lags behind other minorities.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to our column in Abasto Magazine. You and I will have an opportunity to get to know each other, connect on the important issues that affect Latinas today, discuss trends and innovative solutions for your business or career, and find common ground to help each other grow.

Susana Baumann Tell your Story

Susana G Baumann, Editor-in-Chief

A little over two years ago, I launched with the vision to build, support and empower a community of Latina professionals, those in the corporate track and small business owners. After over 25 years of working in corporate America, the State of New Jersey and finally starting my own business, I felt that my experience of struggle and success could be of use for many. As a Latina, I was ready to give back one more time.

The experience has been riveting, to say the least. At a professional level, it has allowed me bring a small contribution to the struggle of Latinas around the country. At a personal level, it has also allowed me to meet hundreds of young Latinas like you who truly are the future of this country.

Are Latinas in the USA making history?

I started my business at a time when being Latino was not “cool” as it is today! Even if we still have many steps to climb and milestones to achieve, we have made strides in every industry, field and activity. Nevertheless, we need to keep going!


Unfortunately, women in general and Latinas in the USA in particular are still falling behind in many aspects of their professional, career or business development. We need to work harder and smarter in these areas:

Leadership: One in five women in this country is a Latina. However, there are no Latina CEOs among the Fortune 1000 companies and less than 3 percent of board directors at Fortune 500 companies are Asian, black or Hispanic women. Women hold only 19 percent of Congressional seats. The first Latina elected to the Senate was sworn in 2017 and just a few more made the House this year as well.

Business: The fastest growing demographics opening businesses, Latinas in the USA represent 36 percent of women owned businesses with receivables of approximately 71 billion (2014). However, Latinas grab a very small portion of five percent Federal contracts awarded last year to women –for the first time in the history of the SBA- and have the least access to capital of all minority business owners.

Corporate America: In the workplace, the numbers do not look much better. One in seven women is Latina in the workforce and they are projected to be over 17 percent by 2022. However, the outcome is poor: One-fourth of Latinas in the USA live below the poverty line and more than half are living in near-poverty with a pay inequality gap of almost 56 percent.

Education: Latinas in the USA have surpassed their male counterparts in educational achievements. However, they still lag behind other minorities in attaining a high school degree, and only 19 percent complete a college degree. They get the crumbs when it comes to employment or promotions with only fewer opportunities to access decision-making, high-paying positions.

Buying power: Latino buying power has increased 167% in the 15 years expected to reach 1.7 trillion in 2020. Primarily Latina moms make all financial and buying decisions in the family.

Health: Health disparities are rampant among Latinas, with the highest rates of death for breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Retirement: The financial and economic gap follows us into old age, becoming the least protected demographic among all minorities.


Not all hope is lost

This evidence is not the only reason that compelled me to launch On the contrary, a deeper knowledge of a vibrant and competent community of talented Latina women, working hard at achieving their potential, was the main reason to create this small window of opportunity: to encourage, promote and bring to the front these wonderful stories of Latino women building family, businesses and communities around them.

Not one person or one movement can achieve this huge task alone. We need to keep holding hands and helping those just starting or on their way up to achieve their best potential because when one raises, the others follow.

Abasto Magazine is giving me today the opportunity to meet with all of you on these pages, tell your stories, and bring discussions to the forefront –the hard difficult questions we need to ask and answer. For that, I need your help: to reach out to me and share your dreams and your achievements but also the difficulties and the battles you have encountered along the way so we can all learn from each other.

Remember: ¡La unión hace la fuerza! We do not need to wait for opportunities to come our way but we need to create them for ourselves. I did it for over 20 years, you can do it too!


Abasto Magazine receives 12 Jose Marti awards at NAHP conference


Ivan Cruz receives one of the Jose Marti awards at NAHP conference

Congratulations to our colleagues at Abasto Magazine who have once again demonstrated their professionalism and dedication to their craft and the Hispanic market!

Abasto Magazine has become the media of choice for Hispanic Food entrepreneurs to advertise their products. From growers, distributors, manufactures, Abasto is the point where all members of the supply chain for Hispanic foods meet.

Now, it has also been recognized by their media peers. Abasto Magazine, the exclusive Hispanic Food Industry magazine nationwide, was presented with 12 José Martí awards for journalism, awarded by the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP) at the 2015 Annual Convention held in Dallas, Texas.

Gus Calabro, Abasto Media's Director

Gus Calabro, Abasto Media’s Director

“This is the recognition of all the work Abasto Media has been doing for many years. Its goal is to continue delivering accurate and timely information to our readers regarding the Hispanic food and beverage industry in the United States,” said Gustavo Calabro, the publication’s director. “The awards received in the various categories reflect the overall excellence of the entire Abasto team, as well as its mission to stand out as one of the most significant publications in the United States.”

Abasto received five gold awards in the categories of Best Magazine Design, Best Website Design, Best Newsletter, Best ePublication and Best Business Article for “We Want Businesses to Keep Growing,” written by Iván Cruz. In addition, Abasto received three silver awards in the following categories: Best Magazine, Best Website and Best Design Spread.

Four bronze awards were given to the Hispanic food magazine in the categories of Best Business Section, Best Cover Design, Best Editorial Column (entitled “We’re Still Waiting,” by Iván Cruz) and, in the marketing category, Best Media Kit.

The NAHP, the most important Hispanic print and digital media conference in the United States, brought together more than one hundred publications, providing a forum for them to address the many challenges the industry faces today.

Abasto Magazine Nov/Dec 2015 issue

Abasto Magazine Nov/Dec 2015 issue

A business-to-business media and information company, Abasto Media provides key resources, knowledge, customers and audiences through its vast offerings to make business related to the food industry a success in today’s changing market.

“Abasto Media is the only B2B print and digital publication in the United States that focus solely on the unique needs of the Hispanic business owner. We are the bridge that connects manufacturers and producers with the Hispanic buyer,” their marketing statement reads.

The term “Abasto” –meaning “supply” in Spanish–, captures the essence of the magazine’s mission statement, which is to provide the best business information to Hispanic business owners. The US Hispanic Market accounted for 50 percent of the growth in the U.S. Food and Beverage Industry between 2005 and 2010. Abasto reaches owners and decision makers of companies who provide these goods and services.