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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

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
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”

early phases of latino settlement
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).
later phases of latino settlement
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.
current study 2008 2010
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).
types of businesses encountered as of may 31 2009 n 98
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.

venues of latino businesses
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)
origins of business owners and customer base
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.
business establishment process
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.
general observations
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.
typology of goods and services part 1
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)
typology of goods and services part 2
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)
other goods services provided to assist local latino population
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
problems latino businesses face
Problems Latino Businesses Face
  • 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.
importance of calidad quality
Importance of Calidad (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…
importance of confianza trust
Importance of confianza (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.
general importance of latino businesses to the latino community
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.
future directions
Future Directions
  • 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)
thanks to
Thanks To

The NC Latino Business Community


Juvencio Peralta

US Department of Agriculture

East Carolina University

David Conde

Linda Wolfe

Robert Lee Maril