During Hispanic Heritage Month, it is always advisable to reflect on our roots, culture, and achievements in this great land that welcomed us, the United States, and realize the importance and power that we have gained over the decades. An example of this is the growth that Hispanic retail has achieved in recent decades.
As a deep-rooted custom, every year, all of us who have the conviction that Hispanic Heritage Month, in one way or another, meant in its origins a new beginning of our history, get together. As in a rite, we hear the magic voice that calls the Hispanic community to gather, and as in a tradition, the words we pronounce, no matter how repeated, have an unstoppable power of union.
Today, Hispanic entrepreneurs in the United States represent one of the most important and influential parts of the nation’s economy. As it is becoming commonplace, we see thousands of Latinos occupying positions of responsibility and senior management in large companies in the country.
Hispanic retail continues to gain ground, but it wasn’t always this way. There are still many Latino entrepreneurs in developing and transitioning economies with micro or very small businesses with little chance of growth.
Traditionally, Hispanics, in addition to being underrepresented in companies of all sizes, have been less likely to hold management positions in major companies.
Societal attitudes and norms have prevented many Hispanic entrepreneurs from starting a business, while systemic barriers have limited most of them to be very small and operating in the informal economy.
These barriers have limited our ability to earn income for our families and prevented us from realizing the potential to contribute to socio-economic development, job creation, and environmental stewardship.
Our role as Hispanic leaders to strengthen our respective communities or professional areas is of immense responsibility. Still, at the same time, rewarding and with the total conviction that we will continue to grow faster and faster and that united, we will achieve all the goals we set for ourselves.
We strengthen our convictions even more by transferring this feeling of belonging to our community to the Hispanic retail world. Retail was, is, and will be a nexus of all the cultures that make up this great nation.
It is usually in critical situations that great figures or collectives emerge. Therefore, if anything positive came out of the Covid-19 crisis, it was the great union of the Hispanic retail trade to point out the priorities to all our customers, associates, and communities in general, which were none other than safety, service, and the constant supply of our stores.
The five-year development plans that most of our small and medium-sized retailers had had to accelerate dramatically in less than five months to provide this service to our entire community.
Some created their online channels with new applications, web pages, purchases of vehicles for home delivery services. Others with fewer resources had to resort to greater commercial imagination, such as activating communication channels within existing social networks, personally delivering grocery orders, etc. All an exercise in responsibility and service to each of the communities we serve.
But it is not only Hispanic retail that plays a leading role in this great boom and growth of Hispanic entrepreneurship. Thousands of distributors, manufacturers, logistics companies, and government agencies, including our Hispanic Retail Chamber of Commerce, the home of Latino supermarkets in the United States, have contributed to raising the level of our competencies without losing sight of the most precious and valued characteristic: love for our people.
Special mention must go to the specialized media, who have been there at all times (in the best and worst of times) to spread the word about the constant news of Hispanic retail.
And among them, of course, the most outstanding, our beloved Abasto Magazine, which since 2009 has become the informative reference of Hispanic retail in the United States and Latin American countries.
Through Abasto, supermarket buyers have learned first-hand about news and trends in the sector and initiated commercial relationships with local and international producers that have increased the quality and competitiveness of the products in our stores.
The future is ours; the future is Hispanic. Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!