At El Mercado in Hartford, you can find a little bit of everything. From yucca, to papaya, to tres leches cake and flan.
“All the countries in North and South America, whatever you are looking for from your country or my country, you will find something here,” business owner Ramon Flores said.
Flores has been in business for almost 30 years. He was born in the Dominican Republic and when he arrived in Connecticut, he saw a need for a Hispanic supermarket.
“I’m dedicated to the Spanish community 100%,” Flores said.
On Tuesday, state officials and Hartford city leaders gathered to recognize his storefront and 20 other Latinx owned businesses in the area.
“We are a proud diverse city with a strong and proud Latino community and a strong and committed Latino business community,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said.
“These are people that work almost seven days a week, they have numerous hours, they basically don’t have time for themselves, but they want to do well for their families. They want to send their kids to college, they want to buy a house,” SAMA Executive Director Julio Mendoza said.
As they celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month, the group took a moment to think of the thousands of people impacted by Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico.
“We want everyone to know that Connecticut is ready to do their part to help, as we have done in the past,” Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz said.
Bronin said the capital city is prepared to welcome families from the devastated island.
“Our school system, as always, stands ready to welcome kids if they are coming to our community, especially if kids are coming to live with family members here in Hartford,” Bronin said.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has also stepped in to help with financial assistance. Business owners can apply for low-interest disaster relief loans.
“That will be used for either rebuilding their homes, these will be either for businesses to rebuild, homes to be rebuilt or renters that were flooded,” SBA Deputy District Director Julio Casiano said.
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