Latino businesses in southern Delaware strive to gain a foothold

Keep the community informed

Other factors add to the challenges Latino business owners face as they navigate the pandemic.

Jose Somalo, founder of the Hispanic newspaper “Hoy in Delaware”, pointed out that small Latin American businesses are often family-run. This means that when a person becomes ill, it can be detrimental to both the business and the health of the family.

He said another concern is that some business owners may be undocumented residents, preventing them from applying for various federal and state grants offered during the pandemic. Members of the Latino community have come together to support those in need, participating in activities such as collecting food for others, he said.

Another media official, Kevin Andrade, CEO of Georgetown-based The Voice Radio Network, which includes two Spanish-language stations, stresses the importance of keeping the Latin American community well informed, both on government mandates. and developments related to the pandemic.

“The only method of communication for Latin American companies that do not speak English [is] radio, ”Andrade said. “So as a radio station we are able to let people know what is going on during the pandemic, by informing [them] every day in their own language.

Maudy Mendez, owner of Maudy’s Hispanic Cuisine, and her son Josh Mendez, 25, make chicken empanadas on Wednesday. Their restaurant is located on East Market Street in Georgetown. (Butch Comegys / Delaware State News)

As with many English-language broadcast operations, Andrade’s stations – Maxima 95.3 FM and La Raza 100.3 FM and 106.7 FM Mexican-oriented – have expanded their offering, establishing a digital footprint to broadcast advertising and community information through audio, visual and social networks. media.

Even relatively simple services – like letting listeners know which restaurants were closed and which only made take out – have benefited both businesses and the community at large, he said.

In addition to helping businesses improve, the resort has also seen strong growth. “We have increased our online audience. A lot more people have been drawn to the videos we put out on social media to receive our information on our show, ”he said.

According to Andrade, the radio station had around 17,000 subscribers before the pandemic and now has around 500,000 online subscribers, including residents of Delaware and Maryland.

As businesses continue to recover from the pandemic, many owners fear the Delta variant will disrupt their operations again. However, Dupont, citing what the owners have learned from their experiences, offered an encouraging assessment.

“They know they’re going to have to pivot because last time it was just a shock,” she said. “People may be better prepared. At least they know they’ve been there, and they know they’re going to have to do things differently. It is not as usual.

This article was produced with the support of a grant from the Delaware Community Foundation. For more information visit https://www.delcf.org/journalism/

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About Christopher Easley

Christopher Easley

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