Celina’s Eggacy at Leesport Farmer’s Market, owned and operated by 16-year-old Celina Estrada of Kutztown, served free meals to 52 veterans on Nov. 16 in honor of Veterans Day. Veterans received a free meal and drink of their choice.
“Without veterans or any military we wouldn’t have a country. We want to thank them since they served us. Great food is a small thank you,” said Celina. “I felt happy like I was doing something. They always smiled and said thank you and I could see that I made their day.”
Inspired by her former swim coach Robert Heebner and also her current principal Alton Zentner who are both veterans, Celina feels it is important to recognize the service of all veterans.
Her mother Amanda Estrada said it is Celina’s mission to serve everyone regardless of their ability to pay.
“She was fortunate enough to have a great first season since she took over the business in June and wanted to pay it forward,” said Amanda. “Anne Frank once wrote, ‘No one has ever become poor by giving.’ Our family is very passionate about food. Her father came from a very poor area of Mexico before he became a U.S. citizen, and he knew what it was like to go without. We want to teach all of our children to give freely without expecting anything in return.”
Celina is a sophomore at Lighthouse Christian Academy in Lyons but she is scheduled to graduate early, making her a senior this year. Her principal has allowed her to be present at Leesport Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays, working independently on her school work in the afternoon between 1 to 3 p.m.
“It’s been crazy; it’s been nice; it’s been different,” said Celina about running her own business. “Being in school it’s hard to keep up.”
Celina said she has learned from the business how to prioritize and use good time management.
“My favorite part is the ordering because I get to choose what we sell... and all the math work that goes into it to making any profit at all. It’s fun to figure out how well we’re doing. There’s a lot of trial and error with this,” said Celina.
Her mother explained that Celina’s family previously owned this business and sold it in 2010 after Celina’s three younger sisters were born. In June of 2016 the new owner decided to retire and offered the business back to the Estrada family. They immediately put Celina in charge.
“The retired owner Marlene has stayed on to work with Celina because she enjoys it so much,” said Amanda.
Celina assisted in the sales transaction of the restaurant. She completed her initial inspection with the Department of Health and had a perfect score. Her name is listed on the license for her business which was renamed Celina’s Eggacy. Instead of referring to it as her “legacy” they called it Celina’s Eggacy as the specialty is egg sandwiches. She also completed a ServeSafe class for restaurant managers and has her certificate on display.
“She manages the business bank account and pays all the utilities and food suppliers without any assistance from her parents. She does all her own ordering which is difficult as business fluctuates with weather changes,” said Amanda. “Celina is able to perform all the roles at the business. She does all the prep, she cooks, she operates the register and serves, and she oversees the operation as a whole and keeps it neat and clean.”
All food is made fresh as it is often only open on Wednesdays. A family business, Celina manages about six to eight employees and more in the summertime. A Mennonite couple, Harry and Martha who are in their 70s, work along side her.
“They babysat Celina when she was 6 months old until she went to school. They are long time family friends who have retired from the dairy farm business and are there with her from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Wednesday.”
Celina’s parents both work full time and are not present during the day.
“Owning and running a business has made Celina more responsible and accountable. She admits to mistakes if she makes them. Much of her former free time is taken up and she is okay with it,” said Amanda. “She has not complained up to this point. She enjoys the freedom since she just got her driver’s licence and can do all her own shopping for the restaurant.”
Celina has been saving all of her income in hopes to attend pharmacy school. She also loves real estate and “fixing up” houses. Her future home in Lenhartsville is a house she negotiated and assisted in the offer and settlement process.
Celina’s Eggacy is located in the Leesport Farmer’s Market and is open every Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m, as well as the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month and all craft shows.