Rolling forward: Mother-daughter trucking company plans expansion in 2023

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    Yolanda Rodriguez and Ashley Ayala, co-owners of Black Rose Trucking, with their truck early Wednesday morning at Canal Park in South Hadley before they start their day delivering asphalt. Rodriguez explained she came her before she owned a truck, meditated and imagined her business. " I sat for hours here putting my business onto paper," said Rodriguez. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Yolanda Rodriguez and Ashley Ayala, co-owners of Black Rose Trucking, with their truck early Wednesday morning at Canal Park in South Hadley before they start their day delivering asphalt. Rodriguez explained she came here before she owned a truck, meditated and imagined her business. “I sat for hours here putting my business onto paper,” said Rodriguez. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • ">

    Yolanda Rodriguez and Ashley Ayala, co-owners of Black Rose Trucking, with their truck early Wednesday morning at Canal Park in South Hadley before they start their day delivering asphalt. Rodriguez explained she came her before she owned a truck, meditated and imagined her business. " I sat for hours here putting my business onto paper," said Rodriguez. —STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Yolanda Rodriguez and Ashley Ayala, co-owners of Black Rose Trucking, with their truck early Wednesday morning at Canal Park in South Hadley before they start their day delivering asphalt. Rodriguez explained she came herE before she owned a truck, meditated and imagined her business. ” I sat for hours here putting my business onto paper,” said Rodriguez. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Yolanda Rodriguez talks about meditating at Canal Park in South Hadley and imagining her trucking business, Black Rose Trucking. Behind her is her daughter Ashley Ayala who runs the business with her. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

For the Gazette
Published: 11/30/2022 1:49:52 PM
Modified: 11/30/2022 1:49:38 PM

HOLYOKE — Following a strong opening year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Holyoke-based Black Rose Trucking is gearing up for an even better 2023.

Owned by Yolanda Rodriguez and her daughter Ashley Ayala, Black Rose Trucking — which specializes in dump truck hauling — successfully completed a crowdfunding campaign on Patronicity, a similar platform to Patreon or Kickstarter. The company exceeded its goal of $19,950, bringing in $21,448 from 35 backers. The money will go toward the purchase of a second dump truck, expanding the business.

Ayala said it was their first time utilizing Patronocity, and they were fairly confident it would succeed. The campaign had a lot of support, with three backers making contributions of $5,000 or more. She said this experience showed the necessity of a strong online presence, especially on social media.

“We haven’t had time yet to write both our social media platforms and really connect with people in our community and get our name out there,” said Ayala on Sunday. “So, I think having done that campaign really opened up our eyes to how important that stuff is.”

Entrepreneurial mindset

Both Rodriguez and Ayala have years of experience in the trucking industry and in early 2020, they began the process of launching Black Rose. This included establishing their LLC, getting loans, and buying their first truck.

Ayala said her mother fell in love with the vehicle, which they found online at a dealership in Connecticut. A nearby restaurant afforded a great view of the truck, and they’d sometimes make the trip to see what would soon bear the company logo, a stylish B and R bookending a black rose.

“We were just so eager and excited that we would just park up on a hill and look down at the truck,” said Ayala with a laugh.

The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the process, and it wasn’t until early 2021 that Black Rose Trucking opened for business. Ayala said the early days were difficult, particularly because a trucking company owned by women of color — the two are Latina — is so rare. She said those challenges could have easily led to them giving up, but saw these times as lessons and pushed forward.

“We don’t regret having gone through all of the tough times that we went through because it was definitely something that made us stronger as business owners and made our business stronger,” she said.

Rodriguez agrees, saying that though it wasn’t easy, they were determined to find a way to make it work.

“No matter what, we were going to find a way to do it,” she said.

Building the business

Black Rose Trucking’s clients are located across the state, some as close as the Berkshires and many in Boston, where they’ve found a great deal of work. Their first job was at the Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, where they removed an older runway and brought asphalt for a new one. Following that, their work has been either at construction sites or bringing asphalt.

Some of these jobs are one-offs, but they’ve also established some regular clients. Hours can range from being up at 5:30 in the morning and working well into the evening.

“We found out there’s a lot of work,” said Ayala.

Initially, the business was just Rodriguez and Alaya, but they’ve recently hired a new employee and hope to keep this momentum going forward. Rodriguez’s goal is to continue expanding the business to 10 vehicles or more.

Beyond that, mother and daughter want to pass on the lessons learned to other would-be business owners. Ayala said they came upon a number of resources and they’d like to share that knowledge with others. In addition, they’d like to give back to the community and have been working on several ideas.

Growing up, Ayala played soccer and recalls that Curran Construction was their sponsor. It’s something she’d like to replicate for Black Rose Trucking.

Establishing themselves has taken some time, and even with many women truck drivers in the industry, it’s been a challenge to find acceptance. But it’s these challenges that Rodriguez faced which motivated her to start Black Rose Trucking in the first place.

“I really wanted to go for it,” Rodriguez said. “I will do everything I have to do to make my dream a reality.”


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