Group aims to educate, inform professionals about Hispanic community's growth, opportunities

Published: Friday, June 6, 2014 at 06:54 PM.

CRESTVIEW — A newly formed organization of Hispanic and non-Hispanic professionals and nonprofit workers aims to unite Hispanic businesses while helping local businesses tap into the rapidly expanding Hispanic market.

Hispanics and Friends Linked organizer David Triana, manager of United for a Good, a Hispanic non-profit organization for youth, said the group will benefit both communities.

 “The Hispanic community is growing rapidly,” Triana said. “What we are hoping to do is educate and inform the non-Hispanic civic leadership, businesses and city agencies about this growth and (be) prepared for an explosion of growth that is going to occur here if immigration reform takes place.”

Hispanics and Friends Linked will hold its second monthly meeting Saturday on the porch at Hot Spot Cigars and Coffee. Its first gathering on May 6 drew 45 people to the Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce.

“We are hoping other chambers want to hear about it,” Triana said.

Pensacola marketing consultant Maria Pinochet, a Chilean native, will speak about marketing to the Hispanic community. Latinos contribute more than $1 million to the local economy, Triana said.

“Small businesses might not have the means to market to Hispanics, but we have many ways to market to us at no cost that we can tell them about,” Triana said.

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