Army Veteran Turns Love of Ham into Her Dream Business


Rosa Ramirez with her two children. Photo: Rosa Ramirez

When Rosa Ramirez graduated from high school in the Bronx, she enlisted in the army with a simple goal – stay in long enough to earn money for college. Thirty years later, she retired from active duty with the rank of Major.  

During her years of service, Rosa was stationed in Korea, Germany, Japan, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Horn of Africa, and the Pentagon. She more than achieved her goal earning a BA in English from Rutgers University, with a Masters in Education and an MBA from the University of Maryland.  

Even before retiring from the military, Rosa began researching options for her second career because she knew after 30 years in the Army, there would be a steep learning curve.  

“In the Army, I learned about leadership, management and managing budgets,” noted Rosa. “But it was always somebody else’s money. When it’s your own money, it’s a different situation.”  

She wanted to buy a franchise and narrowed her choices to Honey Baked Ham and Edible Arrangements. After careful consideration, and with a nod to her early military career, she chose Honey Baked Ham.  

“I got introduced to Honey Baked Ham over 30 years ago at Fort Brag in North Carolina,” remembered Rosa. “There was a location right outside the base and my squad leader would buy sandwiches there and bring them to us if we did something good.  

“As I moved to different bases in Missouri, Virginia and Texas, there was always a Honey Baked Ham nearby. Even back then, I always thought if I have the opportunity, I’d buy a franchise.” 

That dream came to fruition in November 2018 when Rosa opened the first Honey Baked Ham store in Westchester. Located in Hartsdale, customers come from as far away as New Jersey, Connecticut and Manhattan for their fill of ham, turkey, pot roast, ribs, a variety of savory side dishes, and even holiday-worthy desserts.  

“People who know Honey Baked Ham know we aren’t just for the holidays,” said Rosa. “The name is a misnomer. Lots of people think we just do ham but we do so much more.” 

As a retired, disabled veteran, Rosa is a member of the Disabled Veterans Business Alliance, which gives her first access to catering contracts from local, city and state government agencies, which helped kick-start her catering business.  

The coronavirus has put most of that on hold, but Rosa is confident her business will come back stronger than ever.  

Honey Baked Ham
Curbside Pickup Available
57 North Central Ave
Hartsdale, NY  10530

Alain Begun is the owner and publisher of River Journal and River Journal North.


  1. My name Daniel Jorge TSgt-Ret I will definitely be visiting your store my sister from another mother, I served 32 years from 1980-2012, 29 Air Force 3 Army all enlisted. God bless your business and we will see each other soon.

  2. I am so impressed with your fortitude and strength!! It is true that you are an overcomer!! Thank you for your service and how you climbed the ladder of success due to your perseverance and laser focus along with hard work, passion and commitment! Thank you!

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About the Author: Alain Begun