Latino businesses are the highlight of a walking tour

Latino entrepreneurs in Grand Island are proud of their businesses, and, in an effort to attract non-Latino customers, invited the public to a recent walking tour.

The Grand Island Latino Businesses Walking Tour was held Friday, Oct. 20, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The event was organized by the Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension.

“We wanted to facilitate a connection for those who might be skeptical in visiting Latino businesses in the area,” said Griselda Rendon, Latino loan specialist with the Center for Rural Affairs’ REAP Latino Business Center. “They want those community members who have not been in their business to know they provide excellent customer service, offer a friendly atmosphere, and will be delighted to have them come back.”

Participating businesses were asked to provide an introduction of who they are, where they came from, how long they had been in the community, and what made them decide to start a small business.

“All of the business owners who participated were excited, nervous, and very grateful,” Rendon said. “They all had a little something for those who came through their doors that day; it was either a sample of the product or a discount for future purchase.”

Participating businesses included: Variedades Esperanza, Latino Check Cashing, Beverly Bakery, Princess Closet, Jonny’s Video and Boutique, El Camaron inside of the laundromat on Fourth Street, Novedades Evelyn, Bamboo Restaurant, Blossom Nail and Hair Salon, The Enchanted Bakery, Turbo Auto Sales, Green Island, Claudia’s Repujado, Lilibeth Cleaning, Ferrer & Sa Multiservices, and We Love Pupusas.

All of the businesses have worked with REAP in some way, either requesting one-on-one technical assistance or attending trainings or Coffee Tables (a networking event). The businesses have been open from a few months, to three years, to more than 10 years.

“For the attendees, it was an opportunity to visit those small businesses in town where they have not been, and to take a peek at what is in the store,” Rendon said. “The tour provided security for when they revisit those businesses, and was also an opportunity to see a little bit of a different culture and make a connection with the business owners.”

This is the second year of the Latino Business Walking Tour. Last year, attendees thought it was a great way to show what Latino businesses look like.

“The walking tour is like an icebreaker; a very natural way of making an introduction and a connection with local businesses,” Rendon said. “We were asked to bring it back every year.”

To request one-on-one assistance, or to inquire about our loan products, contact your local business specialist.