Bouncing Back: The Different Ways Latino Businesses Are Trying to Stay Open in the Face of a Pandemic

Luciana Gomez, Founder of Cafe Victoria in Dallas, TX. Source: Luciana Gomez

The ongoing global health crisis has wreaked havoc across industries. In one of our previous posts, we even asked some of you to participate in an online survey that aims to measure the impact of the pandemic on Latino Businesses. According to this survey, which is spearheaded by the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, 86% of Latino small business owners reported a significant negative impact on their businesses due to the pandemic.

The study further noted how nearly two-thirds said that they will not be able to continue operating beyond six months should the current conditions continue, while many are still waiting for government relief in the form of Payroll Protection Program loans. Despite these adversities, many Latinos throughout the country are still trying their hardest to stay afloat. Here are some businesses that will surely serve as an inspiration to all business owners, Latino or not:

Luciana Gomez, Cafe Victoria

As someone who established her business out of sheer passion, Cafe Victoria’s Luciana Gomez only had one thing in mind when the challenges of the pandemic caught up with her — to keep her four employees working and the business running. In order to withstand the times, she decided to cut her shop hours, double-up staff on shifts, increase payroll by 15%, and branch out to online ordering and delivery. She also goes out of her way to hand out brochures while walking her dogs to make sure that there is a continuous flow of orders.


Nathalie Huerta, The Queer Gym

With nothing but a $50 gift card from Target and a goal to provide for her LGBTQ fitness community, Nathalie Huerta launched The Queer Gym. This twelve-year-old institution is no stranger to great economic hurdles, especially since it was established during the 2008 financial crisis. With no choice but to close down her gym’s physical location in Oakland, Huerta decided to completely move into the digital space and host multiple Zoom classes, along with her staff of coaches. In addition to providing quality classes, Huerta has also been focusing on checking in on gym members, sending care packages and investing in targeted ads that could bring their gym to the right people.

Andres Reyes, Birrieria Ocotlan


As the fourth generation manager and owner of Birrieria Ocotlan, the pressure on Andres Reyes to keep their business thriving is immense. So when the pandemic started issuing stay-at-home orders, Reyes was quick on his feet and swiftly provided his employees with hazmat suits, gloves and facemasks. He also went out on the streets and started taking curbside orders in front of the restaurant. Reyes also partnered up with Uber Eats to make deliveries a whole lot easier.

Weathering the pandemic


Needless to say, the pandemic has posed great trials to the countless Latino businesses that contributed around $500 billion to the US economy in annual sales last year. If you are one of those businesses, here are some of the ways you can weather the pandemic:


Reevaluating your business structure


As tedious as it may seem, reevaluating your business structure can lead to lots of benefits in the long run, including minimized liabilities. Upgrading your company structure to reduce the personal liability means that if you do go under due to the pandemic your personal finances will be protected. You just have to choose the right one. Compared to an S corporation or a C corporation, the requirements for registering as an LLC are relatively simpler. They usually just require business owners to name their business, file the articles of organization, create an operating agreement, apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and review tax requirements.

Embrace technology

There are many different ways technology can aid your business, especially during these trying times. From cashless payment methods and online stores to virtual classes and food delivery applications, you can integrate technology into your business to continue providing your services in a safe and efficient manner. Businesses who fail to adapt are much more likely to shut.

Tapping into state-sponsored assistance

The US government knows how important small businesses are to the economy — which is why it is putting together initiatives that will support such organizations. Be up to date with the latest programs that the government, both local and state, is introducing in support of small businesses, and prepare all the documents you might need to be eligible for them.

Times may be tough, but with the right mindset and incredible perseverance, Latino businesses will be able to stand the test of time and survive the pandemic.

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