“My health was declining, and I wanted to do something about it before it was too late.”
For Tim Fioritto, working in the food industry for 30 years was taking its toll. “For decades, my life was filled with an overload of work and tons of stress, punctuated by too many bad habits. I knew there had to be a better way. I wanted to move toward a soft, partial retirement, in a place with a lower cost of living and a slower pace of life.”
So, cashing in his chips, he headed south of the border.
“I had been coming to Mexico for many years, seeking out the smaller communities and mostly avoiding the larger metro and tourist areas. I would spend weeks and occasionally months exploring. And with each trip, my love of Mexico grew stronger,” he says.
It was on one of those trips to one of those small towns that Tim met his love, Anita. “As soon as she smiled at me, I knew I was hooked. I made the return trip back to Canada, put my restaurant equipment into storage, and came back to Mexico. I spent the next six months getting organized while Anita and I continued exploring Mexico for the perfect place for our new home.”
Tim and Anita decided to move to Valladolid in the central Yucatán Peninsula, a place they had previously considered. A city of about 45,000 people with a rich history, Valladolid boasts a large Maya population as well as stunning architecture and a vibrant culture remaining from Spanish colonial times. The pace was slow enough without being sleepy, which was perfect for Tim.
“We rented some space in the central downtown area, next to a small hostel, and opened a bicycle-rental business. Simplicity was key. We parked our bikes out front and waited,” he says.
However, it didn’t take Tim long to come up with ways to enhance the business. “I installed a simple kitchen and figured we would offer a nice breakfast with a full-day bike rental. After that, business took off.”
Tim says he advertises only with a sandwich sign on the sidewalk next to his bikes, along with some regular mentions on the local expat Facebook page. “Now, our breakfast customers are increasing faster than our bike-rental business.
They close the kitchen about 11 a.m. or noon and bikes need to be returned by 3 p.m. This gives them plenty of time to enjoy their evenings.
“The business has grown organically. Our customers have shown us where we need to grow. Running a small kitchen and juice bar is an excellent complement for our bicycle-rental business. We need only a small space so we can keep our overhead low,” says Tim. “Compared to my old life, the tiny amount of stress that I feel is nothing at all.”
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