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Calidad y Confianza (Quality & Trust): Latino Entrepreneurship in North Carolina and Beyond. David Griffith Ricardo Contreras & Ed Kissam with the research assistance of: Anna Garcia, Brianna Mullis, and Juan Pablo Servin. Brief History of Latino Settlement in North Carolina.

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Calidad y confianza quality trust latino entrepreneurship in north carolina and beyond l.jpg

Calidad y Confianza (Quality & Trust):Latino Entrepreneurship in North Carolina and Beyond

David Griffith

Ricardo Contreras & Ed Kissam

with the research assistance of:

Anna Garcia, Brianna Mullis,

and Juan Pablo Servin


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Brief History of Latino Settlement in North Carolina

Latino settlement traces its origins to changes in Texas & Florida agriculture and rural communities of the 1960s.

  • Mechanization of cotton & sugar beets changed migrant itineraries.

  • Texas-based Latino families moved into Florida agriculture and, during summer, moved up the Eastern Seaboard (Cindy Hahamovich).

  • Latino migrant crews gradually replaced African-American and Caribbean migrant crews.

    1986 IRCA legalizes 1.7 million SAWs, initiated rapid growth of Latinos in “new destinations”


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Early Phases of Latino Settlement

  • 1980s: Some settlement of single males out of agriculture and into food processing.

  • 1986-1990: Legalization of SAWs stimulates increased information exchange across border; elaboration of linkages among coyotes, raiteros, and labor contractors.

  • 1987-1994: Primarily single males, but women and children joining young men; beginning of movement into other economic sectors (construction, landscaping, fast food, etc.)

  • Late 1980s- early 1990s: first Latino businesses founded (1993 in our study).


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Later Phases of Latino Settlement

  • 1994-1999: Further growth of women and children = more contact with schools, health care centers, churches, etc. Increased demand for native foods, health care products.

  • 2000: Census figures show 400+% jump in NC Latino Population.

  • 2000-2006: Steady growth and expansion of Latino population & elaboration of business presence.

  • 2007-present: Increased ICE raids, surveillance, and partnerships; economic contraction (particularly in construction); some Latino businesses have been forced to close.


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Current Study: 2008-2010

  • USDA Community Development Initiative

  • Concentrated in 4 NC Counties: Duplin, Henderson, Johnston, and Wilkes.

  • Work also going on in 3 to 4 communities in Iowa (Marshalltown, Columbus Junction, West Liberty, and Postville).

  • Early, related work in Pitt County: inventory with Ricardo Contreras (funded by ECU).

  • Cultural Mapping/ inventories of Latino businesses by county (attempt to contact 90-100% of businesses).

  • Follow-up interviews with sub-sample.

  • Develop business training curriculum.

  • Goal: Strengthen network of Latino businesses and its relation to business services & institutions (e.g. credit unions, Chambers of Commerce, universities & colleges).


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Types of Businesses Encountered as of May 31, 2009 (n=98)

  • Grocery/ Variety Stores (“Tiendas”), many with restaurants or food services—40%

  • Restaurants/ Taquerías, Bakeries, or other food specialties—26%

  • Services (tax services, beauty salons, packaging)—13%

  • Clothing stores—8%*

  • Other (auto mechanics/sales, music stores, book stores, etc.)—13%

    *many Tiendas sell clothing as well.


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Venues of Latino Businesses

  • Flea markets (food stalls, some clothing, refreshments)

  • Downtown streets of small rural communities (e.g. Faison)

  • Clustered into strip malls within close proximity of Latino neighborhoods/ trailer parks (often 2-3 close to one another)

  • Individual Homes (e.g. packing lunches, making cakes, food for sale at construction sites)


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Origins of Business Owners (and customer base)

  • Not much clustering of business owners by region of origin, reflecting the variety of networks represented in North Carolina.

  • Mexico: Veracruz, Guerrero, Michoacán, Puebla, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Morelos, Hidalgo, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Mexico DF, Zacatecas, Durango, Nayarit, Tamaulipas, Sinaloa [no single sending state dominates]

  • Honduras: El Colón, La Ceiba, Tegucigalpa, Atlanitida, Tela

  • Guatemala

  • El Salvador: San Salvador, La Union

  • Argentina

  • Venezuela (and Palestine to Venezuela)

  • Dominican Republic

  • Puerto Rico

  • United States (married to Latino co-owners)

  • Customers: All states of Mexico, Central America, South America, United States, Africa.



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Business Establishment Process

  • Most funded with owner savings or from loans from family members; few use financial institutions beyond personal credit cards.

  • Many business owners had little to no formal business training or experience.

  • Several have experience working in other parts of the U.S. prior to coming to NC

  • Some depend on the work of other family members to keep the business running.

  • Most have expanded from more modest origins to larger, more diverse operations, paying attention to customers’ desires.


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General Observations

  • Many businesses offer a variety of goods and services (e.g. operating restaurant and grocery store with billiard tables and wire transfer services).

  • Business names often reflect origins of business owners (e.g. La Michoacana).

  • Businesses are as likely to be owned/ operated by women as by men.

  • While businesses are owner-operated/ managed, few rely exclusively on family for staffing needs; hence, they are a source of employment for the Latino community.

  • Restaurants often cater either to Latinos or to Anglos (Tex-Mex), although some overlap.


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Typology of Goods and Services, part 1

  • Home country food products (e.g. baked goods, cactus, spices, specialty cut and spiced meats)

  • Migration industry products (e.g. wire transfers, phone cards, packaging services, travel services to Mexico/ Central America)

  • Latino entertainment/ educational services (e.g. local bands, dish antennae installation, books, billiards, game rooms)

  • Nostalgia products (tortillas, special Honduran red beans, home country CDs/DVDs)

  • Products related to work (income tax services, box lunches, food sold at worksites)


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Typology of Goods and Services, part 2

  • Products related to Latino ceremonial life (baptism/wedding clothing, votive candles, Virgin de Guadalupe images)

  • Health & beauty products (beauty salon services, medicines, perfumes, herbal treatments)

  • Retail products (e.g. from Sam’s Club/ Wal-Mart) that are repackaged in Latino cultural settings.

  • Products requiring trust, common cultural background, or specific communication (mechanic services, legalization document services, translation services, native health care)


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Other Goods & Services Provided to Assist Local Latino Population

  • Flyers, information for migrant farm workers (clinics, Telemon, migrant education)

  • Information about other Latino businesses, particularly those run out of homes or vehicles (making cakes for quinceañeras/ bodas, tax services)

  • Information about U.S.-owned businesses (lawyers, satellite dish networks)

  • Information about local events relevant to Latinos (Latino bands/ concerts, visits from the consulate, Latino fiestas/ summits)

  • Housing information: rentals, sales,

  • Transportation information: auto sales, bus routes, etc.

  • Gatekeeper information: which physicians, translation services, etc. are the most trusted


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Problems Latino Businesses Face Population

  • Number 1: Economic contraction, particularly in construction (construction jobs down from 477,000 in 2007 to 239,000 in December, 2008—7.6%, or around 20,000 jobs—were lost in the last half of 2008).

  • Return to agriculture from construction among some Latinos has meant changing from year-round to seasonal residence; during winter, many move to Florida.

  • Increased raids on packing plants have led some employers to fire undocumented Latinos.

  • Increased ICE surveillance and ICE-local law enforcement partnerships (in some cases watching Latino businesses) has led to reduced mobility within communities.

  • Security/ robberies/ break-ins occasionally a problem (dealing with large amounts of cash from money transfers) and in some cases in less secure locations (isolated country settings, strip malls in poor sections of towns).

  • Locations occasionally a problem: seeking low rent, they often end up in locations that are somewhat off the beaten track.


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Importance of PopulationCalidad (Quality)

  • Many redundant goods and services, with most tiendas, for example, selling the same products as others (and as Food Lion, Wal-Mart) and providing the same or similar services.

  • Hence, providing quality goods and services is important.

  • Two senses of quality:

    • Quality product in the sense of produced with care, fine ingredients, etc. (e.g. pan, tortillas, or trusted wire transfer services)

    • Qualitatively distinct or unique: specialty products from home or offered in Tienda with specialty goods/ services from home country, offered from someone who also helps organize soccer tournaments, offered with general advice regarding getting along in a foreign land…


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Importance of Populationconfianza (trust)

  • Trust important to a population that is partially in the shadows: Latino households/ families rarely include only one status, but usually a mix of documented and undocumented.

  • Creation of spaces of trust is critical to the development of social capital (networks that can be marshaled for economic, political, and other purposes).

  • Creating trust is critical to establishing and maintaining a client base.

  • Trust can be a form of credit in the absence of credit from financial institutions (for both customers needing temporary credit and owners seeking loans from family, friends).

  • Trusting relationships include relations between business owners and customers, between owners and suppliers, among owners for advice, and among customers.


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General Importance of Latino Businesses to the Latino Community

  • Expanding confianza among the Latino population generally, as well as providing quality products.

  • Offering culturally comfortable spaces for gathering & information exchange.

  • Providing spaces of resistance to ICE, abusive employers, etc.

  • Participating in the formation of soccer leagues/ sponsoring teams.

  • Bridging immigrants’ community/ state-based (or paisano)networks (bridging social capital).

  • Bridging immigrants’ and native community networks.


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Future Directions Community

  • Development of business courses tailored to Latino business owners or future owners.

  • Targeting fully bilingual youth through civic engagement research.

  • Developing/ expanding business services and products:

    • Latino Credit Union

    • Mountain Biz Works: non-profit in Hendersonville dedicated to training and financing small business (works with Latino clients).

    • Transfercel: new card developed by UCLA researchers in conjunction with microfinancers in Mexico that works with cell phones to assist with money transfers and other financial transactions.

  • Developing/ expanding networks of institutions and products available to assist Latino business owners (e.g. AMEXCAN, Community Colleges, Universities)


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Thanks To Community

The NC Latino Business Community

AMEXCAN

Juvencio Peralta

US Department of Agriculture

East Carolina University

David Conde

Linda Wolfe

Robert Lee Maril


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