Friends of Utah: Xavier Retif

Mr. Xavier Retif of Mexico is a graduate of the 2017 Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI). YLAI is designed to empower businesses owners and social entrepreneurs with the training, resources, and networks they need to make positive impacts on their societies. More information on YLAI 2017 can be found here.

YLAI 2017 Snow Bird photo by Jessica Silva_Friends of Utah_Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy
Mr. Retif, standing third from left, with other YLAI 2017 fellows at Snowbird Ski Resort.

While in Utah, Mr. Retif partnered with Mr. And Mrs. Jerry and Kestrel Liedtke, owners of the Tin Angel Café, a high-end restaurant in Salt Lake City, as well as Mr. Joe Long, the President and CEO of Gardner Village. Working with these hosts, Mr. Retif learned of new ways to create and advance a business, focusing on company organization and developing better planning strategies. Since returning to Mexico, Mr. Retif has shared his newfound knowledge with his peers and has implemented new business methods in his work.

YLAI 2017 Site Visit Xavier Photo by Natalie_Friends of Utah_Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy
Dining with YLAI host and mentor Joe Long, the President and CEO of Gardner Village. 

Mr. Retif has the ultimate goal of changing the way in which food is consumed to promote sustainability and preserve the culture and respect for meals. With this in mind, Xavier works to deliver traditional, quality ingredients from remote Mexican communities to consumers. He also strives to implement these ideals at the beer boutique he owns, Bazar Malta, which features a collection of over 150 beers from all 31 Mexican states.

YLAI 2017 Site Visit Xavier Photo by Natalie 1_Friends of Utah_Utah Council for Citizen DiplomacyWith hosts and mentors Jerry and Kestrel Liedtke, owners of the Tin Angel Cafe.

Mr. Retif describes his experience in Utah as completely life-changing, and now feels more committed to his community and country. “Being far away from home living with the most interesting and intellectual people in [the Americas] is an experience that I cannot describe with words,” he says. “You wake up feeling like [you are in] a dream, amazed by all the good things that Salt Lake City has to offer: the people, the commitment [to] the community, the food, the landscape... [It is like a] Disneyland for … entrepreneurs.” He says he has adopted Salt Lake City as a second home.

YLAI 2017 Park City photo by Jessica Silva 12_Friends of Utah_Utah Council for Citizen DiplomacyEnjoying a beer in Park City.

Mr. Retif wishes to sincerely thank UCCD for all its support during his time in Salt Lake City. UCCD is thrilled he had such a fulfilling experience, and we have confidence he will fully realize his entrepreneurial aspirations.