Mr. Cuéllar is President and Chief Executive Officer of Cuellar, LLC dba ShopRite of Passaic/Clifton. He is one of the owners of the largest retail cooperative in the United States. Previously, he was President/CEO of ECO & Sons, Inc. He was responsible for business conducted by the holding company as well as its subsidiaries – President Supermarket, and Presidential Caterers.
Mr. Cuéllar received Senate confirmation for a Presidential appointment to the National Consumer Cooperative Bank where he served on the board of directors till July of 2007. He was honored by Ernst & Young as a 2001 & 2004 Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. His contributions to the corporate community and minority businesses have been recognized by many organizations such as the Food Marketing Institute, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Dun & Bradstreet.
Mr. Cuéllar was born in Madrid, Spain to Cuban immigrants who narrowly escaped Castro’s tyranny. The Cuéllar’s arrived in the United States, after their brief exile in Spain, looking for opportunity and freedom. A born entrepreneur, Evelio Cuéllar, Rafael’s father opened a small “bodega” in New Jersey. To date, the family’s core business is in the food industry.
Mr. Cuéllar enlisted in the US Navy at the age of seventeen. Eager to serve his country, Rafael planned a life-long career in the military. He attended Fordham University on a NROTC scholarship and received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Upon completion, he returned to the USS Detroit as an officer. As a Lieutenant, he supervised over 250 sailors and maintained responsibility of a $14MM quarterly budget.
Mr. Cuéllar prepared for medical school to become a Navy surgeon. Following his father’s sudden death, he resigned his commission after nine years of service and assumed responsibility for the growing family business. He increased revenue by 50% during his first year as CEO. With the strict discipline he gained from the military, he reorganized the infrastructure, implemented sophisticated technology, and diversified the product line and services.