Blanca Pedrin, A Local Known For Getting Things Done

We have a number of Mexican leaders, but not a lot are women
BY: JIM KEARNS

Blanca Pedrin was born in 1957 in Cabo San Lucas. One of nine children, her family has been living in Los Cabos for five generations. She’s best known as the builder and owner of El Encanto Inn and Suites in San Jose, and a major force behind the Thursday night Art Walk and Music Mexico Tuesdays in downtown San Jose. She has a passion for her city, her culture and the children of Los Cabos. She also was a fierce force for getting the San Jose Art District prettied up with underground utilities and cobblestone streets.

Q. How did the Art Walk get started?

A. Around 2003, Dana Lieb, Sabrina Leer and I were hanging out and we were bored. At the time, the three of us each owned an art gallery. So we said, why not make up a flyer for the three galleries and we can also serve people a little tequila or wine? It went very well, and people wanted us to keep on doing it, so that started the Art Walk where we welcome visitors to the Art District every Thursday night. First three galleries, then seven and now 14. And from 2008 to 2010 we did an overhaul of the Art District, painting, lighting and cleaning, to make it more of a Mexican cultural experience.

Q. What new projects are going on now?

A. Well, now we have Music Mexico Tuesdays, with the streets closed and stages are built so various Mexican groups and bands play. The special night allows people to walk around, sing, dance, relax and have a good time. We are trying to make it a complete cultural musical experience.

This year we also had a Day of the Dead Festival, with a huge stage in the middle of a four way intersection and more than 20 altars that were built by the students of San Jose. The students also dressed up as skeletons and La Katrinas and did an awesome job. The kids even cleaned the area when the event was over.

More than 2,000 people filled the streets; it was an unbelievable night. Next year we plan on having three stages at three different intersections, with as many as 40 to 50 altars.

Q. What do you think can be done to make Los Cabos safer?

A. I think we need to raise our children to be kind, honest and respectful. Educate them to give to the community, help others and be proud of their culture. This, in the long run, will lower crime.

Q. What do you think Los Cabos needs the most?

A. Due to the population explosion we need to build a new road between the main highway and the toll road. We also need more sewage treatment plants that are high quality and produce no odor.

Q. How did El Encanto get started?

A. Well, as you know, I was born in Cabo and was fortunate enough to know and work for Bud Parr when I was young. I went to work as a salesperson in his office in Beverly Hills booking clients to come to his hotel in Cabo. After 20 years of working and saving my money, I came back to Cabo. In 1998, I used my money to buy the house and property that I grew up in.

I decided to build some apartments on the property, but about halfway through the construction I decided to be more like Bud Parr and changed the apartments to a hotel. I wanted the hotel to be built in the old Mexican hacienda style, surrounded by lush vegetation and beautiful flora. I built the main building in 2001 and the church, organic deli, and the swimming pool in 2002. We now have 28 rooms and 22 employees.

Q. Do you have any advice for someone who wants to get into the hotel business?

A. Know what you are doing and love it.

Q. If I gave you $60,000 USD to open a business, what kind of business would it be?

A. I would use the money to start a cultural center for children. It would teach children to be artists, sculptors and writers and to be proud of their culture. It would have restaurants that would sell traditional Mexican food and be open to the public. That money would be used to keep the center going.

Q. What do you do in your free time?

A. Go to the beach and travel to places like San Miguel de Allende. Outside  Mexico, I love Italy.