Hispanic business coalition seeks to cross-promote services

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A new organization is helping the coast's Hispanic business community realize the economic and social benefits of working together. Dozens of businesses have formed the Hispanic-Latino Business Owners Coalition.

Customers spent time shopping at La Bamba in Biloxi. The owner says most people don't realize each Hispanic shop is unique. He says a partnership could help with that.

"Showcase our varieties of products and services that we can offer," said owner Eddie Diaz. "Because even though there are many Latino stores in the area, every store offers some kind of different product or different kind of services."

The Hispanic-Latino Business Coalition is the brainchild of the El Pueblo Ministry. About 40 stores, restaurants, contractors and others have been brought together to share business advice network and support one another.

The Rev. Sally Bevill said, "If you own a sheet rock company, more than likely if you are using Latino immigrant labor. They're going to shop at the store. They're going to need access to check cashing or products that they like to cook at home."

"They may have family members in their own country where they need to buy phone cards or wire money home. We know the Latino-Hispanic businesses are really becoming a big force economically along the Gulf Coast."

Gallery owner Romy Simpson said she joined the coalition because it seeks to help Latinos do well in business and help Latinos become leaders in the larger coast community.

"I think that the stereotypes that exist towards minorities and about the Latin people at the moment is not very positive," said Simpson. "I think that if more people were exposed to the goodness of the Latin community and the warmth and the humanness."

Coalition members say their goal is to pull their resources and succeed together.

Officials said one function of the new Hispanic Latino Coalition is for successful established businesses to offer counseling to new businesses on how to grow their clientele.

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