MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- Esteban Miranda had never driven a box truck before, but that didn't stop him from buying one for his business. The 24-year old has been experiencing a lot of firsts lately: first in his family to graduate from college and first to open a business.
He started Miranda's Thrift Shop in 2013 during his senior year at Fresno State, after being frustrated that he couldn't find a job in a down economy. Miranda recalls, "I literally would sleep on my homework because I was so tired. But I couldn't give up, I 'd keep going, keep going, it felt really good to be able to graduate."
From action figures to home dcor, Miranda sells thousands of new and gently used items in his locations in Merced and Turlock. Miranda had plenty of experience dealing in secondhand goods. He remembers scouring yard sales with his parents who struggled to make ends meet: "5 in the morning, and we'd come back at 5pm, so there wasn't much to do, all we did was work. And basically help my parents out, but it was a necessity. It's not like we had a choice."
That work ethic and motivation kept him going while he was taking business classes through the Lyles Center at Fresno State. His mentors, like Fresno land developer Cliff Tutelian quickly noticed something special: "He was focused and everything got done right now. And I think that's a major ingredient to a startup, much less success."
Miranda's success doesn't mean he's stopped asking for advice. He still has mentors like Ed O'Neill on speed dial... which came in handy when there was a zoning problem. O'Neill described the call: "He said what'll I do?! I said, 'Call the mayor,' Pretty soon I get another call and he says, 'I'm in the mayor's office looks like they're gonna help me.' " Help that someday, this young entrepreneur hopes to pay forward. He gave 130 presents to foster children last Christmas, regularly hands out blankets and sleeping bags to the homeless and donated school supplies last fall.
If you're interested in buying or selling through Miranda's Thrift Shop, visit their website for more information.
North Valley Entrepreneur Says Thrift Stores are His American Dream
Early on in life, Esteban Miranda learned one man's trash is another man's treasure. Now he's running a successful business based on that concept.