Happy Hispanic and Latin Heritage Month! We are so privileged to have such a robust and bright Hispanic and Latin Community in West Michigan. People First Economy wants to celebrate just a handful of inspiring businesses that embrace their culture and community through their practices every day.
Soldadera Coffee, a local coffee business in Grand Rapids, shared that they, “actively engage with the community through a variety of initiatives, events, and collaborations. We host cultural events that showcase the vibrancy of Hispanic and Latin cultures, featuring traditional music, art, and performances. Our menu proudly includes a range of authentic Hispanic and Latin-inspired coffee blends, giving our customers a taste of the rich flavors from these cultures. We partner with local artisans and suppliers to source ingredients and products that align with our commitment to supporting the community.” Their popular, and delicious, cold brew was inspired by their grandmother, Cristina, who was a political activist for women’s rights for most of her life. The message of hard work, empowerment, and pride is felt when enjoying any of their cold brews.
Similar messages of empowerment and pride can be felt at City Built Brewing, a Local First Member brewery and restaurant. Edwin, the owner of City Built Brewing, prioritizes the Latin and Hispanic community through food and drink. “I understand what it can feel like to be in the West Michigan community and not be welcomed, or made to feel less. It is part of our training with our staff to recognize that a person of black or Latin and Hispanic descent may have been treated poorly previously and it is up to us to turn the minds and hearts of people in our space. We do that through recognizing the disconnect in our community and having meaningful dialogue with the goal of building bridges in our space.” City Built Brewing has been a staple for the community where they honor the Hispanic and Latin communities who have been a part of our Neighborhood since the 1920’s by providing a welcoming space. They pride themselves in the message of “you built our city, we brew its beer.”
Lindo Mexico Restaurante Mexicano, a long-standing Local First Member, Good for Michigan Member, and a traditional Hispanic and Latin restaurant, shared that they, “celebrate the Hispanic and Latin communities in our neighborhood by utilizing Lindo as a tool to do good in our community. We do this by supporting those organizations who support our community and by celebrating special events that highlight our community.” They have always served traditional recipes from the Hispanic and Latin communities; by cooking traditional recipes, they provide an educational experience for the employees to understand more about the culture. El Granjero, another local Hispanic and Latin eatery, stated that they, “are proud of being an authentic Mexican restaurant and highlight a variety of flavorful dishes from the Mexico City area, including Nopales, [a traditional cactus dish], that represent our background. We educate our team and customers on the impact of Mexican members of the community and in the nation that have contributed to the many opportunities and enhancements of our modern society. Icons like Frida Kahlo and Cesar Chavez are examples of the impact and legacy of Mexican American individuals have done in this country and it’s important to learn about them to keep educating future generations on their heritage.” Sharing traditional recipes and empowering individuals to learn more about the Hispanic and Latin cultures leads to more opportunities to support their communities.
Natural Maya, an artisanal storefront, stated that, “in our community in general it is celebrated with different festivals and in our store, we celebrate our Hispanic heritage by inviting local artists to exhibit their work in our store.”
In addition to food and music, fashion is a great way to show pride to your identity. On vintage avenue, our Local First Member, OTONO, shares that a significant way they celebrate their culture is through their name, OTONO. Owner Emmanuel Ibarra shared, “It’s an homage to my Mexican heritage and to my love for Fall. At the store, you will frequently hear Mexican or Spanish music as I really enjoy the sound and want to share it with our customers who the majority of whom (I would assume) never listen to this kind of music or are exposed to this music only at a Mexican restaurant. I also play it in the hopes that other people who enjoy this music would be able to hear this and enjoy it while they spend time in the store.” We value that our members take the time to support Latin and Hispanic communities or even showcase their own identities within their businesses.
Latin and Hispanic pride shines through these businesses, their craft, and their impact on our community. This September and beyond, we encourage you to seek a Hispanic or Latin-owned business near you to support. When we shop locally, it matters.
For Hispanic and Latin events, click here: https://www.mexicanheritageassociationofwm.com/
To find more locally owned Hispanic and Latin businesses, click here: Use the Directory | People First Economy