(HARLINGEN, Texas) – For many coffee aficionados, they can stimulate their taste buds at a Colombian-influenced coffee shop — Cafe Canasto — that was established in Brownsville by entrepreneur and Texas State Technical College alumna Johanna Lozano.
Lozano, a native of Colombia who now lives in Harlingen, utilized her education and business savvy to launch the successful business.
“I gained that knowledge when I lived on a coffee farm in Colombia and when I worked at a few coffee shops,” she said. “I’m very passionate about managing people. As for our coffee product, the coffee beans are imported from Colombia.”
Lozano earned an Associate of Science degree in Marketing and Business Analytics from Johnson & Wales University in 2012. She furthered her education and earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Management Technology from TSTC in 2015.
“I wanted to gain more knowledge in business, and that’s why I chose to attend TSTC,” she said. “The instructors knew my passion for business, and the knowledge I learned gave me great tools for managing the business. The program was very interactive. I really enjoyed the accounting class. Every teacher was knowledgeable. Their availability made a huge difference.”
Lozano’s venture first began as a catering company in 2018, and the coffee shop opened in 2020.
“It’s about not giving up and taking risks,” she said of her success. “That motivated me to keep going.”
Her persistence has enabled her business to flourish — even through a pandemic.
“Our business plan never anticipated going through a pandemic,” she said. “We opened for business in March 2020, and five days later the pandemic made its impact. We were blessed to have a drive-thru location, and it never closed down because of that. Adjustments were made, such as implementing a delivery service. The dining area did not open for almost a year.”
Lozano’s business includes a thriving catering service.
Gina Cano-Monreal, TSTC’s president of Online Learning, recently employed Lozano’s business to cater breakfast for a retreat.
“Cafe Canasto’s services are well known throughout Cameron County,” Cano-Monreal said. “Attendees at the retreat were hesitant about trying something new, but they were impressed with her coffees, teas and delicious food cuisines.”
Cano-Monreal added that Lozano was an ideal student.
“Johanna has always been self-motivated,” she said. “(She) knew her educational objectives to be successful and incorporated the tools from TSTC’s Business Management Technology program to be a successful business owner.”
“I suggest that you be attentive and ask any questions you may have,” she said. “Everyone is committed to education at TSTC.”
TSTC offers online training for its Business Management Technology program. Students can pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Management Technology; certificates of completion in Office Assistant, Bookkeeping Accounting Assistant, and Business Management Technology; and several occupational skills achievement awards.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.