Pedro Lopez, President of Tropi Gelato, moved to Altona with his wife and four children in 2012.

Lopez said he decided to move his family from Venezuela to Manitoba because of the economic crisis in the country. In Venezuela, Lopez had his own gelato business and also worked for a petroleum company where the met several Canadians, who always spoke highly of their country.

"They were always talking about the nice country, the care that the country takes of them," said Lopez.

When Lopez saw that he needed to either leave Venezuela or go broke, he decided to start over in Canada.

His lawyers advised him to move to Toronto, Quebec, or Alberta. But Lopez didn't want to live in a big city, or move to another area where work focused on one type of industry.

"Manitoba looks really good because it has a small size," said Lopez. "The economy looks really good because, it doesn't matter that it doesn't grow so much, it's steady, it doesn't depend fully on petroleum."

Not knowing if he'd be able to open another business, Lopez chose Manitoba as his destination because of its job opportunities for newcomers.

Lopez is currently working at Friesens in Altona, where he's also able to take English classes. Last year, he was able to place his first gelato freezer inside Altona's Co-op Gas Bar.

He's now sold his shares of the gelato business he started in Venezuela 10 years ago, which had 38 different flavours. Lopez said he started making gelato because he knew the economy was failing, and needed another source of income. However, when the government took over the milk plant, milk became too expensive to purchase. This added to the list of reasons why Lopez relocated to Canada.

Now, Lopez said he's happy to live in a country where hard work can pay off, and where he isn't under strict control by a corrupt government.

"I said, 'If somebody gives me the opportunity to work, I'm going to demonstrate how hard a Venezuelan guy can work,'" said Lopez.

Lopez is very proud of his product, and saved up to purchase a special $40,000 machine needed to make gelato. He's also proud to say his product is low in fat and contains all natural ingredients.

He spent many hours, while also working full-time, perfecting his product at the University of Manitoba Food Science lab. His hard work paid off, because the gelato is now sold in the lunch room at his full-time job at Friesens.

This month, Lopez is able to start making his gelato in Altona, at his factory in the industrial park. He has plans to hire 18 people, and hopes to open a gelato shop one day.

Tropi Gelato is now available at Co-op Gas stations in Altona and Morris, at Co-op Food Stores in Winkler and Morden, and few locations in Winnipeg.