In honor of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, we’re highlighting some of our local Hispanic/Latinx clients who own and operate small businesses with their families.
Being an entrepreneur is an occupation many Hispanic/Latinx people embark on once they arrive in this country. Whether they have a formal education or lack of, launching a family business means it’s all-hands-on-deck. Hispanic/Latinx entrepreneurs may start a business because it is something they did back in their own countries, they want to be independent or because it is worth taking the risk of learning something new. By owning their own business, it is something they have control over, rather than embarking in industries that have different regulations from their country of origin.
Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month is celebrated every year between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15. During this monthlong celebration, TechTown Detroit is recognizing three multigenerational small businesses who are either current clients or alumni of our 313 STRONG program. They each shared what it means to run a business with family members from different generations and the support they offer each other.
1630 Lawndale St., Detroit
313 STRONG alum
Carniceria Guadalajara is a three-generation business run by Salvador Enriquez, his daughter, Adriana Hernandez, her husband Martin, and their children, Vanessa and Emily. The main point of their store is the butcher services, which offer fresh meat, chicken, seafood, diverse types of sausages, as well as dairy products and general groceries. Carniceria Guadalajara is a 313 STRONG alum; Adriana says the program’s workshops, as well as its technical and marketing support, has helped her family provide better customer service.
Enriquez came from California in 1999 and recalls his first experience in Detroit as not a very pleasant one. There were few Hispanic businesses, and many buildings and homes were dilapidated. Since then, the Southwest Detroit neighborhood has radically changed. “We can find a diverse number of Hispanic products, more equitable prices and a greater variety of new services that the Southwest Detroit community — and Michigan in general — can have access to,” Enriquez says.
Carniceria Guadalajara has gone through a transition of its own, since opening in 2001. The business started as a pop-up inside another location and has since moved to two other locations before settling in their current building on Lawndale Street. Carniceria Guadalajara also had a mini restaurant that was converted into a commissary.
Enriquez says the point of their business is “to offer products and services of high quality at low prices to different neighborhoods in Southwest Detroit.” In the commissary, a licensed kitchen, food truck owners can use all the equipment and refrigeration, cleaning and storage services, and prepare the products they are serving at their own establishment. There are few commissaries in Southwest Detroit, and this is a part of their contribution to better the city, they know that more people can increase the opportunities to have their own business.
When we asked Adriana what it is like running a multigenerational business, she shared that “I learned a lot from my dad on how to run the business, how to cut the meat, and how to take care of the customers that I did not know growing up. Now my daughter Emily is the cashier.” Adriana oversees the administrative tasks of the business, including the website, accounting and social media.
“Adriana is very intelligent, and she is always open to managing the business, the operations of it and include the whole family,” Enriquez says.
Since opening Carniceria Guadalajara, the Enriquez and Hernandez families have seen more women entering the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Their business is more than a brick-and-mortar enterprise; they aim to offer intentional support to entrepreneurs, so they know their ideas are validated and possible. “We hope that our neighborhood, clientele and friends know that we are a family and our efforts to offer services are for a better Detroit and Michigan, and to support our people,” Enriquez says.
Another important aspect of the business is how the clients learn about them. Enriquez says the community has always supported Carniceria Guadalajara by recommending it to other clients. The business is currently working on acquiring some equipment to increase production and to offer their services outside of the neighborhood and into more communities.
La Bamba Supermarket
1208 Fort St., Lincoln Park
313 STRONG client
La Bamba Supermarket is a hybrid business that combines a restaurant and a market with butcher services. Gabriel and Gabriela Garcia run the business with their three children: Juan, Jennifer and Chantel. Gabriel’s vision for La Bamba Supermarket was to have a place where the family could work, be independent and learn about entrepreneurship.
A newer TechTown client, the business is currently receiving services through 313 STRONG for accounting, operations and website creation. “We joined 313 STRONG because we wanted to better manage the business and learn more about marketing and how to reach our target audience,” Jennifer says.
“La Bamba Supermarket’s mission statement is to supply the Latino community downriver,” Jennifer says. The business opened in 2019, right before the COVID-19 pandemic began, but has since landed on a smoother trajectory. Their goods include a wide variety of Mexican groceries, beer, Mexican artifacts and souvenirs, house supplies and more. Running a multigenerational business is a good place where they all can learn from each other. “We all like to be involved in the business; there is always one of us present at the store supporting our employees,” Jennifer says. “We like to bond at the end of each week by getting dinner together and discussing what obstacles we overcame together as a family.”
What’s even more remarkable, both Jennifer and Chantel provide this support for the family business while also being full-time college students. Jennifer recently graduated from Mercy College Ohio with her bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration and a minor in nursing. Chantel graduated from Wayne State University with her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and plans to go to medical school to become a doctor.
Running a small, family-owned business doesn’t come without its obstacles. “With running a business comes a lot of challenges, especially with the family members being of different ages and generations,” Jennifer says. “For example, my Mexican parents have a difficult time expressing the English language or using modern technology.” But at the end of the day, she says that it’s rewarding to come together as a family and make their mark as entrepreneurs.
“Despite all the ups and downs we are a very hard-working family who likes to work for what they want; we earn it,” Jennifer says.
Mobile business that services metro Detroit
313 STRONG client
Guzman’s Concrete provides top-quality concrete services around metro Detroit, including sidewalk and driveway repairs, patios, porches, garages and more. After years of working in the construction industry, Salvador Guzman decided to start his own company in 2019. His daughter, Jennifer, a student at the University of Michigan studying biology, health and society, helps her father run the family business.
“Running a business with family entails lots of patience and dedication, as there is no one-size-fits-all guide,” Jennifer says. “We each bring unique and innovative ideas to the table but finding a way to merge them can be challenging. My dad and I have different perspectives, which helps us learn and grow from each other every day. It is all about embracing those differences and finding common ground!”
Salvador realized he needed assistance in elevating his business and learned about 313 STRONG through TechTown alumni in the community. This then led Jennifer to schedule a Strategy Session.
“We have had the opportunity to participate in workshops and coaching that have played a significant role in our business’s growth,” Jennifer says. “The workshops have not only allowed us to connect with experienced professionals who have been through similar processes, but also equipped us with valuable resources for business development, financial management and enhancing our social media presence. We are most excited to see our continued growth, embark on exciting new projects and make new connections with other entrepreneurs.”
Indeed, constantly finding jobs to sustain the business is a priority, unlike a regular 9-5 job. It is not just about showing up and doing the labor; there’s always behind-the-scenes work to tackle even after the workday is done. Despite the workload, Jennifer shares that the feeling of working for themselves makes it all worth it.
“Over the years, we have been fortunate to receive unwavering support from the Latinx community,” Jennifer says. “Their assistance has been invaluable, allowing us to consistently deliver a dependable service. Together with the help of other local companies, we strive to provide the reliability people can count on.”
TechTown Detroit’s 313 STRONG program is a customized support program for small businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park neighborhoods. Passionate, skilled professionals provide one-on-one coaching to help understand, sustain and strengthen business operations in neighborhood commercial districts. Learn more and see if this program is the right fit for you!