My dad started his first business, a bakery, when he was 17 years old in Mexico. This small business kept our family fed and clothed for 30 years until we closed it to migrate to the United States in search of economic prosperity. Growing up in a bakery taught me so many lessons, from sharpening my math skills while I helped check out customers, to understanding the dignity of work at a young age, and learning how to make delicious conchas and bolillos. Above all, I learned that entrepreneurship runs deep in my family and my culture.
This year has been especially difficult for small, family-owned businesses across our country. The pandemic forced many local shops and restaurants to close for extended periods of time, to lay off staff, and in some cases to completely reconsider their business model. While many small businesses have not survived, those who have, did so because their clients stood by them in these challenging times.
Latinos play a crucial role in our country’s economy as workers, business owners, and consumers. The purchasing power of Latino households in the U.S. will reach $978 billion this year. Just imagine what we can do when we exercise the power of our wallet!
As we enter the holiday season, Latinos have an opportunity to flex our power by selecting where and how we spend our money. Here are some ways you can help small business recover:
1. Shop Local – Rather than stepping into those big box retailers (or visiting them online) for your holiday gifts and decorations, support the small and locally owned shops in your city. You will receive wonderful costumer service, find a selection of beautifully curated goods, and directly support the family who owns that store.
2. Shop Small and Handmade Online – Online shops are becoming increasingly popular across the country for their convenience and personalized approach. Behind these businesses you will find individuals who put love, care, and intention behind their products. Since online boutiques are often small operations, plan and order with enough time to receive your purchase by mail.
3. Catering and Meals – Whether you are picking up a to-go meal for your family or ordering catering for your holiday gathering, consider buying from small restaurants, food trucks, or local home chefs who bring their cherished family recipes to you!
With every purchase you make you are unleashing your power. At LCF we prioritize small businesses to cater our events, shop from Latino-owned businesses when we need gifts for our partners, contract small woman-owned consulting firms, and support artists and creators who put their heart into their art. Join us this holiday season. How you shop can truly make a difference.
Written by Adriana Saldivar, Program Manager at the Latino Community Foundation