The Craig Fahle Show

Business During Bankruptcy: A Look At Detroit's Hispanic Community

June19, 2014

An anchor of Detroit's successful Hispanic community has been the thriving economic landscape of its small businesses. Tony Lopez, the owner of Cabresto Tequila and Myrna Abundis, who owns La Jalisciense Tortilla Factory join Craig and bankruptcy reporter and Next Chapter Detroit blogger Sandra Svoboda to discuss how Detroit's bankruptcy has impacted their businesses.

The Latino Press reports: "Statewide, Latino-owned businesses in 2013 had sales and receipts of almost $4 billion and employed well over 18,000 people. As Detroit negotiates its way to a better economic future, the Latino investment in that effort will be critical to its success." The state of Latino small businesses could be considered a barometer not only of the health of the Latino community, but of Detroit as well. The Press, a Detroit Journalism Cooperative partner, explores some of the experiences in this vibrant community.

Lopez and Abundis both say the business climate in Southwest Detroit is still buzzing, despite the city’s financial crisis. It’s especially busy “on the weekends with regulars and people from Canada and the suburbs,” Lopez says. Abundis also notes the local customers and explains that her shop is “locked into a really tight community” where residents commit and stick by the businesses that surround their neighborhoods

“We have loyal customers who will go around construction barriers and go around the block a few times to find a parking spot,” Lopez says with a laugh. Lopez, who started his tequila company in 2006, was raised among business owners. His family also owns Lopez Tire, and he says they used that success to fulfill his father’s childhood dream of having a Lopez-owned tequila business.

With Corktown blossoming, Abundis says she has noticed a renewed interest in the area. But, for so many who support business in Southwest, there are real and lasting ties to the city, independent from wanting to explore its up-and-coming neighborhoods. “There are family members or childhood memories” that Lopez says keep calling people back to Detroit over and over again.

Find more coverage of Detroit's bankruptcy and its impact on people and neighborhoods on WDET's Next Chapter Detroit blog.

Powered by The Detroit Journalism Cooperative with support from The James L. Knight Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and Renaissance Journalism's Michigan Reporting Initiative.