Our Community - Romel Gomez - "Making you feel at home in San Pedro"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 10, No. 44            November 30, 2000

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Romel Gomez

Determination and will power are two characteristics that have pushed many people to achieve their goals. Even though financial resources were limited many years ago, realistic thinking and a strong desire to succeed played a big role in the achievements of many businesspeople in San Pedro. This was the case of this week's personality who managed to create a business of his own - Mr. Romel Gomez Sr.

    Romel was born in San Pedro Village on February 6th, 1943 to parents Modesta and Albino Gomez. He grew up in this peaceful fishing paradise among two brothers and three sisters. As was customary in those days, he attended elementary school until the age of thirteen and then went to work as a fisherman which, at the time, was the number one source of income. Romel gill-netted for fish in the shallow waters around San Pedro for three years. As a young man, he was very ambitious and searched for new ways of earning additional income to help his parents. When lobster fishing started to blossom he joined other locals on these long fishing expeditions. Having a good eye for business, Romel saved most of his earnings and, after two years, saved enough to buy his own fishing boat, increasing his profits by a large margin.

    On June 30th, 1966 he married Ester Gomez and over the years had three children, Nestor, Videlma and Ruby. Having a family prompted him to work harder, which he did, making a good living in the lobster industry for fifteen years. As San Pedro attracted more visitors Romel, having an extensive knowledge of the Belizean waters, bought a skiff and started to work as a tour guide. He was employed by El Pescador Resort where he worked for the next eighteen years. During this time he also saw a great opportunity to invest his savings in and went for it. Having acquired the prime piece of beachfront property where he lived with his family, Romel erected four small rooms to rent to the increasing number of tourists. The rooms with shared bathrooms, simple and quaint, were rented for only $15 a night. This marked the birth of Ruby's Hotel. Romel continued to work as a tour guide and in 1986 added five extra rooms to his hotel. By 1991, Ruby's Hotel had expanded to seventeen rooms and a third floor. Three years ago, four more rooms were completed on a concrete area of the premises. In the meantime, Romel also built a dive shop from where he offered fly and reef fishing, as well as snorkeling and other island tours, using experienced guides.

    Today, Ruby's Hotel, managed by Mr. Gomez's daughter Vidy, consists of twenty-one rooms for those looking for a comfortable yet economical stay. The comfort of the rooms range from "fan with shared bathroom" to "air-conditioned with private bath." Because of its friendly service and moderate rates, Ruby's Hotel receives a steady flow of visitors all year long.

    Just last year, Mr. Gomez purchased his daughter's business, Ruby's CafÈ, situated on the premises of the hotel, which serves not only their guests but visitors and residents of the island as well. The dive shop is now leased to Searious Adventures, who handle all the tours with the same courteous and professional skill. Although Romel limits his work as a tour guide, he still welcomes a job when he is needed. 

    Mr. Gomez told the San Pedro Sun, "I have enjoyed my evolution and the progress I have made along with the growth of San Pedro. Of course, there have been times when things did not go as planned but, with the help of my family, I have managed to move ahead." 

    Romel Gomez is one of the many people of San Pedro that have succeeded because of their great ambition. He stood firm in his beliefs and has been rewarded for his decisions. We salute this self-made man for his example and business contributions to "Our Community".

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