The eatery operates with the help of their children: Gabriela, 19, and Jancarlos, 18.
“I’m so, so proud,” Maritza Amador said. “We’ve been so blessed. Seeing them grow up and be the people they’ve become; it’s my dream for them to have the life we always wished for.”
3Natives opened in the plaza next to Windermere High School in August.
Although the location originally was owned by 3Natives Corporate with Amanda Matich, the Amador family took over the business about a month ago.
The new location is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
3Natives, founded in 2013, is a Florida-based restaurant chain. The other two Orlando locations are in the University of Central Florida and Lake Mary areas.
The smoothie and juice bar is known for serving healthy and affordable options that are made to order. The menu includes popular items such as açaí bowls, smoothies, wraps, salads, bagels and toast.
The healthy options and fresh product are what sold the business concept to the Amadors.
Maritza Amador said she has struggled with many health issues over the years from being overweight in the past. After losing 60 pounds, she now has a greater awareness and appreciation for making healthy options taste delicious.
Gabriela Amador had tried 3Natives in Orlando and originally brought the idea back to the family.
“We had been looking for a business that we might want to get involved with for a while, and 3Natives really presented the perfect opportunity,” Jancarlos Amador said. “We started to talk to corporate, who really has been like family. They’ve been such a big help and have always been here for us. That, combined with the business coming along at the perfect time where my sister and I could really help, made this an easy decision to invest in.”
The family said they saw the lack of fast, healthy food options in the Windermere area and saw the opportunity to offer an alternative.
“We wanted to be in a close-knit community where we felt at home and supported when it comes to small business,” Jancarlos Amador said.
So far, he said his favorite part of the 3Natives journey has been meeting and interacting with the customers.
“I’ve really enjoyed creating that bond and relationship with our customers,” he said. “I like explaining the food concept to them and then eventually learning them by name and memorizing their orders. We try and create that environment where they come in and they know they’re going to be treated well and what to expect.”
“I think my favorite part is the fact that it’s a big opportunity for me and my brother to also learn if this is a career we want to go into,” Gabriela Amador said. “On top of that, I think it’s super important to work on something that you truly believe in. All the products that we sell in store are things that I would go out and personally buy. It’s a product I think is beneficial to the people in the community. Also, being able to meet and get to know people in this community is really special. It’s taught me a lot about communicating with people, even when the conversations aren’t always easy.”
IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY
Taking over a small business is no easy feat, but, luckily, the concept of hard work and commitment isn’t something new for the Amador family.
Santos Amador has his own carpet installation business, while his wife has her own cleaning business.
Both have worked long, hard and physically draining hours and jobs for the majority of their lives.
The two hope to continue their businesses while also focusing on building 3Natives.
A passion for business appears to run in the family.
Gabriela Amador attends the University of Kentucky, where she studies business management, while her brother wants to major in finance and one day have his own business.
Currently, Jancarlos Amador is a senior in high school in St. Cloud, where the family has lived for about 18 years.
In addition to playing soccer and staying on top of his studies, he typically works eight-hour days at 3Natives five times a week.
“It’s a struggle, but you find your balance,” he said. “You do it because it’s something that you love. I don’t complain.”
Jancarlos Amador said his family set the path to success for him and taught him all the skills he needed to know not only in business but also in life.
“They did the hard work and they facilitated it for me,” he said. “We saw how hard our parents worked. Even from a young age, it’s really something we noticed and kept with us. They couldn’t be at some of my events, but I always understood because they were working hard and doing their best for us. They couldn’t go to college, and now I have the opportunity to go and earn a degree.”
He is considering a few different options for college. However, he plans to take classes in finance and, hopefully, operate a successful business after graduation.
The Amador family said they would love to see the business grow and create a community, as well as hopefully open more 3Natives locations in the future.
The new location will host a grand opening event Saturday, Jan. 27.
“I’ve seen how hard my parents work towards everything they do and how grateful they are for every opportunity they have,” Gabriela Amador said. “That’s the main thing I learned from my parents, and I think it’s important to carry that gratitude with you everywhere you go.”
News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.