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In Houston, Businesses Feel The Pinch As Undocumented Consumers Limit Spending

Houston shopping

Photo credit: Photo: Godofredo A. Vasquez, Houston Chronicle

Inside the PlazAmericas Mall in southwest Houston, where merchants sell baptism dresses, artisanal pottery and piñatas, the hallways are empty and bored employees pass the time on cellphones. The few shoppers remaining barely glance at vacant storefronts, omens of a new threat to business.

Toward the back of the complex, which has catered to immigrant customers since 2009, store owner Emilia Alvarez snipped the sleeves off a button-up men’s shirt she hasn’t sold in months. Last year, Alvarez could easily rack up $1,000 at E-Mily’s Boutique on any given Sunday. She had a loyal following among fellow immigrants who are living in

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Guatemalan Artisans Are Pushing to Remove 64,000 Fake Maya Products From Etsy

guatemalan blankets

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Ethical Fashion Guatemala/Remezcla

In San Juan La Laguna – a town on the shore of Lago de Atitlán in Guatemala – the 20 or so Maya women who make up Casa Flor Ixcaco, a collective that produces organic fabrics, have seen their work misappropriated on several occasions. Plenty of business owners come into the group’s store, ask for a sample of the work, and promise to return to place a large order. But they never come back.

“What happens normally, and it’s happened to me, [is] people come here and ask for samples and [then they create their own products], but now they use chemical ...

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Latino Plans Hartford’s First Downtown Condos In Over A Decade

trinity grad

Developer Jose Ramirez. Photo credit: Hartford Courant/Monica Jorge

Since early 2015, renters have moved into hundreds of new apartments downtown, the majority of converted buildings now boasting occupancies of 90 percent or better.

But is downtown ready to take the next step into condominiums?

 Developer Jose Ramirez says he has no doubts, as he nears the end of a two-year quest to secure financing to convert long-vacant space at 289 Asylum St. into eight condos. The units would be on the upper floors of a building that once hosted Mayor Mike’s restaurant.

The $1.4 million “Hartford Lofts” project would convert the space that was a hotel and rooming house and ...

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