Three years ago, the Greater Stamford Chamber of Commerce decided to help its members by holding a Hispanic Business Expo to help promote the businesses they operate. Fourteen businesses participated that year, but this modest beginning did not dissuade the group.
Now in its third year, the Expo has more than tripled its participation and they say they have no doubt this event, which is designed to highlight Stamford’s growing Latino business community, will continue to grow each year.
U.S. Census data seems to support their optimistic forecast. The city of Stamford has the state’s 5th largest Hispanic population and Fairfield County, where the Chamber has its more than 1,000 members, is home to the state’s largest Hispanic population.
Chamber spokeswoman Debbie Arrieta says, “This Expo is really the best way for our businesses to network, not only among each other, but also to increase their profile among Latinos and non-Latinos in the Greater Stamford community.”
Arrieta cites as an example, Canine Coiffures, which although it is a long time Stamford business, the pet care company was purchased a few years ago from a non-Latino family by Peruvian born David Yika and his wife, Mercedes Nacarino. The couple was eagerly passing out pet grooming tips and information on their numerous pet care services to all who stopped by their booth letting potential Latino customers know they are a Latino owned business now. Arrieta says, “That alone can open up a whole new market of Latino consumers for them.”
The more than 50 businesses participating this year ranged from law offices to restaurants to an organic coffee distributor. While networking seemed to be the primary reason most of the businesses were in attendance, some also said supporting events like this are good for the greater community. Attorney Edwin Camacho, who practices criminal, personal injury and family law, says he participates, “Because it’s important to be part of a collective effort to grow the Latino business community in this region.”
Among those attending and welcoming the business owners were Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia , U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon and Moraima Gutierrez, of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Photos of the Stamford Business Expo can be found in CtLatinonews.com’s Photo Gallery.