The pandemic has been tough on many businesses. It has also been difficult for many business organizations.
This includes the Wichita Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which was founded in 2002. Its membership has dwindled in recent years as it has struggled to find its way.
But the chamber has assembled new leadership and held an event last month to relaunch the organization.
Maria Kury is the new president of the board. She spoke to Tom Shine and The Range about the challenges facing Hispanic businesses and the economic burden of the Hispanic community.
TOM SHINE: What do you want the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to be collectively?
MARIA KURY: We all agreed that our greatest strength is the passion we have for serving our community and the connections we all share. So… building on that, we’ve decided that our new vision is all about serving the Hispanic community in particular, but serving the Wichita community in general by raising the voice of our Hispanic people and our Hispanic business owners.
Why would anyone join the House?
The Wichita Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is the first minority organization in Wichita, and…we work to be the bridge between the Hispanic community and the non-Hispanic community, not only for entrepreneurs who are looking to reach the Hispanic market, but also for Hispanic Entrepreneurs who are looking to expand or set up their new businesses.
The Hispanic community is the fastest growing community, not just in Wichita, but in the United States.
So … knowing the community, knowing what their needs are, what moves us, what we consider important, what our values are and how their companies, their products or their services satisfy those needs or feed off that lifestyle. I think it’s very, very important.
Do people sometimes underestimate the economic impact of the city’s Hispanic community? It’s big enough.
AND. And we’re a very loyal market and people tend not to pay attention to that. We are an incredibly loyal market and consumer. I still buy brands that I saw my mom buy when I was a kid. Not because I think they are the best brand, but because I know that’s what my mother bought and it’s probably what her mother bought.
We are very loyal consumers and are the perfect stereotype of what a consumer is – we buy as much as we can and companies tend to forget that.
Here’s the… tricky thing about the Hispanic community:
As long as you treat us fairly, we will give you our loyalty in return. But if you don’t treat us fairly, then we will forget about you very quickly and very quickly. That’s why… the Hispanic market is a complicated and very interesting place.
What are some of the obstacles Hispanic businesses face that are unique to Hispanic businesses?
a few come to mind. The language barrier is very important.
We have to take into account the immigration status. How does this affect not only their business, but perhaps the potential employees they would like to have? And all the cultural barriers that minority communities face every day.
There seems to be some momentum to revitalize the Nomar district (along 21st between Broadway and Arkansas). Will your group be a part of this effort?
Empower is the organization doing great things to relaunch Nomar… and we are big supporters of Empower and its mission. One of their staff members sits on our board. So we have a great relationship with them and we will support and help.
Because that’s the other thing that we’re really focusing on this year is we have a lot of organizations that work on behalf of the Hispanic community, but historically there’s never been a joint effort to do things for each other. other. And we want to change that.
What will success be like in a year for the Chamber?
We want the community to know about us and we want to be the first organization they think of when someone thinks of the Hispanic community. «Well, let’s contact the Hispanic Chamber. They will know how to help us.’ We want to be that.
I don’t know if we’ll make it in a year, right? But anything that brings us closer to that position will be a success.