Beach vendor Paco with Elías of Telmex. Beach vendor Paco with Elías of Telmex two years ago.

Acapulco entrepreneur, 14, wasn’t old enough to join Sanborns

Paco became an internet sensation two years ago for his salesmanship on Acapulco's beaches

Acapulco empanada vendor and one-time viral sensation Francisco Orihuela came close to signing an agreement with restaurant and department store chain Sanborns, through which he would continue selling his products via augmented reality.

But the big plans were stalled by one small problem: at 14, he wasn’t old enough.

Orihuela, known as Paco, became a celebrity two years ago after a video showing him selling empanadas on the beaches of Acapulco was posted online.

His unique spiel and charisma and ability to communicate in a list of languages that include Spanish, English, French, Italian, Dutch, German, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic and Hebrew won hearts on the internet and drew the attention of the director of strategic alliances at Telmex, who said in a tweet he wanted to get in touch.

Yesterday, Arturo Elías Ayub recalled his dealings with Orihuela during a meeting yesterday in Mexico City.

“Paco, a great salesman . . . he was to give us his empanada recipe and then when you opened a menu, grabbed your phone with its augmented reality there was Paco delivering his spiel. And then you bought your empanada at Sanborns,” said Elías.

But the deal fell apart when Orihuela’s age was taken into consideration.

Elías is undeterred, and said that once the boy comes of age “we’ll do something.”

He added that what instantly drew his attention was Orihuela’s ability and ingenuity. “He was a boy that knew how to sell empanadas in 14 languages, whatever you asked him he answered with charisma. How can you say no to someone like that? . . . That’s why I sought him out. I said, “He’ll sell 8 million infinitums [internet packages] tomorrow.”

Sanborns and Telmex are related companies owned by Mexican businessman Carlos Slim.

Source: El Financiero (sp)

Reader forum