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President of Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on plan for businesses

Posted at 10:23 PM, Oct 12, 2021

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is the largest Latino business organization in the state. President Rob Elias says, “the Hispanic community is the fastest growing community in southern Arizona and in Tucson. We’re about 48% of the population right now.”

“The goal is to highlight who we are, what we do, and why we do it. And find those organizations that share those values,” said Elias.

Elias has been the president since June. He says helping Latino owned businesses succeed starts with communication.

“I think just be transparent and be authentic. Be Tucson, be Southern Arizona. And that’s the best thing that we can do. Really listen to our members, listen to the community, and see what they need. And see how we can help businesses grow and not just grow larger, a lot of companies don’t want to grow. They’re happy being the size that they are. Whether it’s a small business or not, we want to help in every way we can.”

But like any organization, Elias says there’s still plenty of work to do to get the chamber back to what it once was.

“We need to evolve a little bit. We need to go beyond what just helps commerce and we need to look more into a socioeconomic standpoint and see what helps the community, what helps the society, what helps consumers. And when we can look at all those things individual, the intersection between community, consumer, and commerce, that’s where we really start to thrive,” Elias said.

Local business owners agree with Elias’ vision for the community.

"As far as local businesses are concerned, we can use a little more support as far as getting us advertised and getting the local businesses ahead of the downtown district," said Mr. Loko Manager, Adam Ortegon. "I just feel it tends to focus more within the downtown district instead of the rest of the city.”

“I hope it really supports us. I hope it can help boost the amount of publicity and customers we get," said business owner Annaira Alberson. "Something to help the families.”

Ramon Figueroa, who has owned a business for 18 years in Tucson, said, “it’s a growing community and it’s going to be pretty strong. We can make it stronger with the effort of all of us.”

The Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce believes with the growing Hispanic community in the area, businesses will continue to thrive.

“I think we’re just true to ourselves and that’s the thing that makes Tucson so beautiful" Elias said. "We have this authenticity to us that just feels special. And when we can embrace that and at the same time embracing growth, we can grow without compromising our culture and heritage at the same time."