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    Salón Boricua: Bringing Life to Puerto Rican Heritage

    The odyssey of Hurricane Maria continues after four years. It caused the destruction of the electrical network, upwards of $90 million in damages, and caused about 3,000 deaths approximately, according to the local government. For many Puerto Ricans, the reality of this phenomenon led to a reduction in unemployment. Many of the citizens turned out to create micro-businesses, like Mikeyla Jerian and Wilmer Jobeth did when creating Salón Boricua. Salon Boricua is a shop centered on the culture and heritage of Puerto Rico.

    The Creators

    The Creators
    Wilmer Jobeth Fernandez and Mikeyla Jerian Maldonado, founder of Salon Boricua.

    Founded in 2018 by Wilmer Jobeth Fernandez and Mikeyla Jerian Maldonado, Salón Boricua offers something new. Both creatives with the same ideas, manufacture art inspired by the history, culture, and the Boricua identity. In addition, they strive to educate the masses of the hidden history in Puerto Rico.

    “Personally, we love the history of Puerto Rico, we both have a love for our island. Additionally, to give space to the little-known history in which there is a “history gap” not taught in schools”, said Wilmer Jobeth.

    Why the name of Salón Boricua?

    Originally known in the 1950s as a barbershop owned by Vidal Santiago Diaz. He was a member of the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico and served as president of the Santurce Municipal Board. Moreover, he also worked as the personal barber for the leading figure in the independent movement, Pedro Albizu Campos.

    via Latino Rebels
    via Latino Rebels

    With an epic battle in which Vidal Santiago starred on October 31, 1950. The current Salón Boricua was born in 2018 out of an educational need. A need that crosses the country. It encompasses the love that both creators Mikeyla and Wilmer have for their homeland. Therefore, Wilmer mentioned the art used in their store also represents a national affirmation and things in which we identify as Puerto Ricans.

    “Salón Boricua is a creative workshop inspired with pieces of art influenced by the history of Puerto Rico,” said co-founder Mikeyla Jevian for Hypefresh.

    Greener Materials

    The world faces a grave environmental crisis more now than ever. In fact, the process of recycling is an imperative move to give debris a new life and use. Especially in Puerto Rico, where 11.3% of residents practice recycling. Moreover, there are only 18 out of 29 landfills open at the moment. Only 11 of those comply with environmental standards. Furthermore by the year 2022, the only 11 in which abide by the standards are going to be shutdown.

    Salón Boricua has products made from recycled materials which are a living example of “reduce, reuse and recycle”. Their notebooks are made in the style of a collage, with illustrious Puerto Ricans on their covers.

    Uvita
    via Instagram @salonboricua (left to right: Uvita, Blanca Canales and Roberto Clemente

    Struggles All Over

    Following earthquakes that affected the southern part of the island and the hurricane in 2017, entrepreneurs had to start over. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic served to diminish the promising economy of Puerto Rico during its 2020 fiscal year. In fact, small businesses endured the greatest loss according to the Economic Report of the Governor, published by the Planning Board.

    For the creators of the Salón Boricua workshop, each crisis has helped them reaffirm their purpose. Better yet, it gave them the adrenaline to continue with their project. Thanks to many of their clientele, they are people with a sense of patriotism. After numerous disasters that occurred on the island, others living in the diáspora to support their  business. They are among the ones that make moves for internal tourism and widespread investment in Puerto Rican communities.

    “That if we have been able to survive hurricanes, earthquakes and the pandemic, I understand that we can survive whatever,” said the couple.

    If you want to find out more about Salón Boricua you can visit their website www.salonboricua.com or check out their Instagram. Each product is handmade and produced locally in the municipality of Ponce, Puerto Rico.

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