In our inaugural story, we visit community cornerstone, Las Palmas-a family-style Cuban restaurant in New Jersey. Owner Ariel Cartagena talks about challenging taboo and the 360 transformation of his business, from a seedy steakhouse to a thriving food-metropolis. In sharing his story, Ariel Cartagena speaks to the value of energy services for his business-riches he measures in people, not cash.
My utility company was like a stranger to me. I was just writing a check to someone I didn't know and who didn't care to know me. Now I have a great relationship with GEE. Energy is vitally important to me and my business. Without it I wouldn't have a restaurant.
To step into Las Palmas is to step back in time. Here, the original form of social networking-the family gathering-is at its prime. Situated in New Jersey on the bustling boulevard of Bergen Line Avenue, Las Palmas is a magnet and hub for the convergence of energies: discussion, debate, dance, laughter, and nourishment. More than just a Cuban restaurant, the four-story establishment is a symbol and epicenter of family and community.
Yet for the better part of Las Palmas' history, "it was almost taboo," explains current owner Ariel Cartagena. "This place had a rough reputation [but] the community itself was just electric."
For years, people shied away from Las Palmas; this was especially true among families with children. Before ever taking ownership of Las Palmas, Cartagena counts himself among that group. "When my children were growing up in Manhattan, we used to visit Bergen Line Avenue for the Spanish food," Cartagena recalls. "My children loved Las Palmas, but I would never let them go past the first floor."
Download the Las Palmas Case Study
Ariel Cartagena, Owner Las Palmas
West New York, New Jersey
Restaurant + Supermarket
Lower costs and total spending
$3,500/montAriel's Benefit Equivalent: 3 jobs/month
Annual Benchmarking 4,550 decatherms 1.3 million Kilowatt hours
Oil-to-Gas Conversion and Lighting Retrofit