Why business closures affect more than the economy


SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The smell of Lada Ladies food truck will make your mouth water. For a second your senses are transported to Mexico, but then you realize this culinary fusion goes beyond that.

Enchiladas have always held a special place in the hearts of Elaine Lira-Dean and her sister, Sandra. They are the co-owners of Lada Ladies. When the Lada Ladies Food Truck opened, they knew their business had to tell their story.

“So we took the traditional enchilada and we started making bowls, we started making plates, we started putting sauce on our quesadillas and everything is enchilada style on our food truck,” Lira-Dean said. “We’re actually second generation. Mexican American, so our parents were born here but their parents were born in Mexico. Our parents grew up and were raised to be more American. They were told not to speak Spanish, to go to school, to learn, to read, to learn to read. It was frowned upon to speak Spanish. We only learned Spanish when we were growing up. My sister learned it when ‘she was cooking in the kitchen with the line cooks who only spoke Spanish. Having these experiences in our lives is really hitting us hard, like what do we do, why do we erase that? If what whatever, we should promote it, we should not hide from it or despise it. “

Mexican flavors with American ways of cooking. Mexican basics with American styles. Two languages ​​are highlighted on a menu.

“Having that story and growing up with these types of Mexican foods, I guess, then incorporating the American part into it,” Lira-Dean said.

Lada Ladies is just one example of the thousands of Hispanic businesses across the country that showcase their culture to the community.

The latest estimates from the 2019 U.S. Census Annual Business Survey show that Hispanic-owned businesses accounted for about 5.8% of all businesses. They had estimated annual revenues of $ 455.6 billion and about 3 million employees.

“You can learn so much from each other. I mean we learn the American way and they can learn the Mexican way, ”Lira-Dean said.

San Antonio shows us what can happen when a city embraces the cultures that make it up.

“San Antonio is known for the Hispanic culture, that’s right,” Lira-Dean said.

Emma Hernandez, of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of San Antonio, says cultural fusion can help cities form a unique identity.

“What we want to be an example of for the country as a whole is really to make sure that our Hispanic businesses, Hispanic-owned businesses, and the Hispanic community are in the mainstream. They don’t just sit at the table, they are the table, ”Hernandez said. nature of the city.

“It’s passed here, so if there weren’t any more, I don’t know what San Antonio would look like,” Lira-Dean said.

San Antonio is an exception. While 5.8% of American businesses are owned by Hispanics, Hispanics make up nearly 20% of the country, which is another reason families like these take their jobs so seriously.

“We are very proud to be Mexican-American entrepreneurs,” said Lira-Dean. “It’s not just, oh, we’re a food truck. We also come with a story, we also come with a reason why we do things.”

“Everyone looks out for each other, wants to make sure their neighbors are successful and have all the resources they can and that really, I believe, comes from this Hispanic culture,” Hernandez said.

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