Madcity Pallets & Lumber LLC: Weaving Love and Dreams One Wooden Pallet at a Time
According to the United States Census Bureau, one in five Americans has Latino heritage. The pursuit of the American Dream spreads among more Hispanics every day, seeking better lives and leaving behind the countries they grew up in.
Embarking on this monumental challenge, one fails to fully grasp its complexity. Language barriers, customs, culture, food – these elements can form a cocktail that initially goes down smoothly, until one sip unexpectedly stirs emotions, often unbalancing the heart.
In the land of Uncle Sam, time becomes more valuable; every second equates to dollars, and life seemingly slips away in the blink of an eye. Tasks the true-blooded Americans refuse to undertake often fall into the hands of Latinos, who are adaptable and resourceful, connecting with those who share their race, language, nostalgia, and resonate with the melodies of an arpa, tambora, or tuba.
Yet, love knows no boundaries. Cupid, oblivious to gender, race, or language, shoots arrows that paralyze the unsuspecting. This was the story of Jenifer Ford and Albertino Cortés – a German who journeyed over 7,000 kilometers, worked at a McDonald’s, met Cortés, and today, they are parents to three children. Borders, miles, language differences, cultural gaps – none of these mattered. The tenacity of their souls, driven by different origins but similar aspirations, led them to Madison, USA, united by the quest for a brighter future.
Despite language difficulties, they faced barriers head-on, forging a relationship day by day and building a home together. Albertino, born in Veracruz, had worked since childhood. He’d dedicated himself to securing his future, just as his parents taught him. “We were seven siblings, and money was scarce. But my mom and dad taught me to work hard, to stay out of trouble. I come from a family that instilled values in me, and that’s why I am who I am. The situation back home compelled me to come to the United States.”
His last job was in a company that crafted and restored wooden pallets used to stack cargo – a role that unknowingly laid the foundation for what is now his life’s project and that of his entire family.
“What’s best is that I have a wife who supports me, who’s been with me through thick and thin. She tells me she’s with me in good times and bad. Thankfully, she’s here, pushing us forward, and I want to keep going. Everything’s positive, and you can succeed here,” the ‘jarocho’ points out, as Jennifer tears up. Albertino worked for ten years at that company, gaining experience and earning the trust of his boss, a man “strict yet kind-hearted,” who extended a helping hand, enabling him to progress in the business of pallets, also known as estibas – platforms made from different materials (wood, plastic, metal) used for easier cargo stacking and transportation.
“I’ve always entrusted myself to God. He knows. We’ve had to battle the fear that things won’t go well, that money won’t suffice. But you can always make it work, especially here in the United States. We don’t have holidays yet; we keep working until we establish ourselves,” the Mexican asserts firmly. Jennifer isn’t Latina, yet she speaks as if she were. She loves languages, and having spent nearly two decades alongside Albertino, she speaks Spanish and sometimes spanglish with a Mexican accent. She’s worked various jobs in Wisconsin and has been unwavering support for Cortés.
The family business started taking shape several years ago, but the pandemic arrived, halting many dreams they had for the future. They managed to endure thanks to clients who reached out via Facebook or phone calls. Now, they’ve returned with more experience, stronger than ever.
Jennifer emphasizes that “our customers are paramount. We want them to be satisfied with the quality of the product and the attention they receive from us.” Madcity Pallets & Lumber LLC emerged from Albertino’s prior work experience. He aided his boss in repairing damaged pallets, which were then sold. Recognizing an opportunity, he proposed becoming a partner rather than an employee. He asked his boss to sell him the damaged pallets, which he would then sell. This marked the beginning of their venture. Other opportunities followed, such as purchasing a truck for transporting the pallets. Jennifer stepped in, becoming a crucial part of this fledgling small business.
“I had a lot of fear; I know how to drive, but the truck is a monster. But I thought, if he can, I can too. Besides, I had to honor my word, accompany him, and work together. That’s how we’re making it work. I’m not as strong, and tasks requiring strength are Albertino’s realm. So, I’m focusing on driving the truck and trying to learn a bit more every day,” the German states.
Jennifer graduating from the Wisconsin Latino Chamber of Commerce program “starting a business” next to her instructor Jorge Antezana
She adds that their children are the engine of their home and business. Fiona (14) and Tobias (13) occasionally visit the workshop, sharing in small responsibilities like sweeping, cleaning, unloading, tidying the truck, while Jennifer tends to their nearly two-year-old, Sebastián. The production space eventually became inadequate, and they’ve now moved to a more comfortable location. Still, Albertino’s goal is to have their own building, avoiding rent payments, and providing employment opportunities for those in need who want to learn.
The family explains that these pallets are mainly used for proper cargo placement in transport vehicles. While standardized measurements are common, their company specializes in custom-made solutions. Nowadays, these objects aren’t just for transporting goods; they’re used for decoration and crafting furniture like beds, sofas, and libraries. This family’s journey continues; their children have yet to reach adulthood, and they remain the couple’s greatest motivation. They keep forging ahead, with the dream of overcoming all challenges.
For those interested in the services of Madcity Pallets & Lumber LLC, they can reach out via their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Madcitypallets2008/ or through phone at 608-228-3235 and 608-886-4549. Albertino and Jennifer are ready to assist and provide all the necessary information.
Ford and Cortés plan to keep working together, and although their nostalgia is rooted in not being able to spend as much time together as a family of five, they anticipate brighter days ahead.
For inquiries with the Wisconsin Latino Chamber of Commerce, please click on this link Cámara de Comercio Latina de Wisconsin.