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After just a year, rising rent forces Health Ha to find a new home

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Lee Steele
Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012. Sign up for our weekly newsletters, so our best stories will appear in your inbox every Monday.
Health Ha’s tiny space won’t see a second year after rents nearly tripled in Santa Ana. Above, Wendy Garrido Arroyo, the owner of the business. Photo: Lee Steele / Yucatán Magazine

Time was short for Health Ha’s hole-in-the-wall location facing Santa Ana park. After just a year in business, its monthly rent nearly tripled to over 22,000 pesos (around US$1,300) — well more than the owner can afford from selling smoothies, fruit bowls, and waffles.

So owner Wendy Garrido Arroyo’s upbeat attitude will serve her well as she figures out a survival plan. 

After studying educational psychology at a university in Mexico City, and 10 years dedicated to studying human development and nutrition, Garrido concludes that “we are the result of what we think and eat every day.”

And with that idea, she opened Health Ha just four months after first moving to Mérida in August 2021, a bold move for a newcomer during the pandemic.

“I did not know anyone in the city, much less a good location for my business,” she said. With just a tiny sliver of retail space, Calle 47 was seen as a good mix of workers, students, and tourists. 

After just a year in the location she invested in, Garrido will now set up shop, temporarily anyway, in a garage space on Calle 62 between 43 and 45. 

Health Ha has healthy bowls in Mérida, Yucatán. Photo: Courtesy

“It was a hasty decision because, on Dec. 31, I have to leave the place where I am currently. However, this decision makes me happy because it is better to work in that place for a few months rather than to close my business,” she said.

“Suddenly, everything is rising,” said another restaurant owner who is renting property up the street. “I find it unfair.”

Health Ha specializes in drinks fortified with vitamins and antioxidants, as well as fruit bowls and foods like waffles with vegetable protein, fruits, and seeds. There are gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. 

“I use affirmations and decrees to name a variety of drinks,” Garrido says. Soy Inteligente and Creo en Mi — I’m Intelligent and I Believe in Me — are among the names on the menu. “And that is with the intention of remembering the greatness that every human being has.”

Garrido welcomes suggestions from anyone who knows of space in the Santa Ana area. Contact her at ydnew-22@hotmail.com and follow Health Ha on Facebook.

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