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'Coming to our Census': Tapping into a growing market

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SALT LAKE CITY - The most visible sign of Utah's shifting demographic terrain can be found in retail and consumer goods. According to Census numbers, our state's growth rate for Latino-owned businesses is among the fastest in the nation.

Fresh produce, a bakery and fresh cut meats - Rancho Markets recently opened its seventh store on 3300 South in Salt Lake City.

The company is owned by Eli Madrigal. She grew up working in grocery stores in Mexico and Nevada.

There has been an under-served niche in the grocery business and in Utah, and Rancho Markets has found a way to serve that niche.

–Dick Harwood

When she moved to Utah she decided to start her own business. That was in 2006, a period in which the number of Latino-owned businesses in Utah grew dramatically - jumping 78 percent.

CEO Dick Harwood credits the success of Rancho Markets to serving the needs of the public.

"There has been an under-served niche in the grocery business and in Utah, and Rancho Markets has found a way to serve that niche," he said.

This is a niche many businesses were slow to recognize.

"I think the World Cup was a huge missed opportunity for mainstream businesses to send their message out," said Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman Olga De La Cruz.

She has educated many businesses on how to better target the Hispanic market.

"We try to educate them about the different holidays, the different beliefs, cultural norms," De La Cruz said.

Companies that are beginning to aggressively target the Hispanic market are seeing payoffs.

"I think slowly they've come to the realization that the Hispanic market is definitely a market where there is money spent," said De La Cruz.

Hispanics spent about $6.5 billion dollars in Utah in 2010 - a number that continues to climb.


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Scott Haws


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