More than anything, the Hispanic Chamber is the bridge between the Hispanic business community and the general business community. We serve as liaisons between the two, facilitating communication, identifying business opportunities and facilitating cultural and business understanding to both. We provide informational resources and guidance to small business owners. We assist them with all areas of establishing their business, serving as the bridge between them and the City of Tulsa and its different departments. We also provide educational opportunities through the Small Business Academy, and we provide all the opportunity for exposure and networking through our luncheons and other networking events.
Since I have been involved with the Hispanic community, I have seen the growth from the mom-and-pop small store to the [store that has] multiple locations across town and even across the state. Business owners are savvier about their business; as they grow, they like to invest in new ventures. We now have many very successful business owners who have several businesses, varying in type and size, with several real estate investments on the side.
The Hispanic Chamber is working to establish better relationships with the City of Tulsa, but we still have work to do. If entities such as the City of Tulsa created bilingual positions, it would make the process smoother for so many. More than anything, the political climate must change. (The Hispanic community is) not invisible, and yet politicians act as though we are. Look at the latest political campaigns: Not one advertisement has been made in Spanish, and (candidates) have failed to consistently reach out to the community. Politicians rely on a handful of “token” Hispanics, and they think reaching them is reaching out to all. If there is an immigration reform, those who are choosing to ignore this ever-growing and economically powerful segment of our city will have a rude awakening.
Juvenal Saldívar owns a boot shop, and this year decided to open the Bazaar shopping center, giving 50 small Hispanic businesses, the opportunity to have a store front for a fraction of the cost of renting a space. Supermercado Morelos is on its way to opening its fifth supermarket in the state. The Anaya family from Pancho Anaya bakery has the quintessential “American Dream” story. These and others have used their profits to invest in real estate and other business ventures. I could go on and on; the Hispanic entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Tulsa, Oklahoma.