Skip to comments.Tennessee: Slowdown in economy taking a toll on Hispanic-owned businesses
Posted on 11/12/2008 9:30:07 AM PST by Tennessee Nana
BREAKING About two years ago, Mexico native Carlos Perez left his job at a factory in Dayton, Tenn., to start Perez Produce, a distributing company for local Hispanic restaurants and stores.
Now, Mr. Perez said he regrets leaving a stable job at the La-Z-Boy factory because the produce business is not going well and he is on the verge of closing.
When I first started with the business two years ago it was going well, but starting about three months ago it started going down, down, he said in Spanish. If the situation continues to get worse, I think I might have to close it in a couple of months.
With thousands of jobs lost in the area, small businesses, especially immigrant-owned mom-and-pops are struggling to survive, local experts and business owners say.
When the economy slows down and people have either lost their job or are concerned about losing their job ... people start cutting back on spending and one particular place to do that is in the service area, things like going out for dinner, said Dr. Bruce Hutchinson, professor of economics at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
When business was going well, Mr. Perez would sell about 2,000 boxes of produce per week in the region. He said he now sells between 300 and 400 boxes per week.
The economic slowdown has taken a far greater toll on non-citizen immigrants, especially those from Latin American countries, than it has on the U.S. population as a whole, according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis of Census Bureau data.
The median annual income of non-citizen immigrant households fell 7.3 percent from 2006 to 2007 while the median annual income of all U.S. households increased 1.3 percent during the same period, the report states.
According to the Pew center, the economic fate of Hispanic immigrant workers has been tied mostly to the housing and construction sectors.
Thus, these workers enjoyed significant economic gains during the construction boom of the early part of this decade, only to experience a sharp decline starting in 2006, the center reported.
Over the past year, the biggest job losses in Tennessee were in manufacturing, which is down by 10,000 jobs, and professional and business services, which lost about 6,800 jobs, according to Tennessee Department of Labor.
So far, six area companies La-Z-Boy, Shaw Industries, Tecumseh Power Co., Arcade Marketing, Dixie Group and Mohawk Industries have announced plans to cut more than 2,000 jobs by next year. In September, unemployment rates in Tennessee and Georgia were at their highest level in 21 years and 16 years, respectively.
Juan Ramirez, owner of the grocery store Las Morelianas in Hixson, Tenn., which receives his produce from Mr. Perezs business, said a combination of a slower economy and tighter immigration laws has affected business that caters mainly to Hispanics.
If about 50 percent of Hispanics stop working and many of them go back to their native county, thats going to have a great effect on Hispanic businesses because a large percentage of our clients are Hispanics, he said. If this (trend) continues in six months, its going to be extremely hard for the Hispanic commerce to continue.
Meanwhile, Mr. Perez continues to make his deliveries.
Im trying to find another job or to see what other business I can start because I cant keep going like this, he said.
Staff Writer Dave Flessner contributed to this article.
Perla's wild imagination at work again...
They are ILLEGAL ALIENS, Perla...
Another Perla sob story PING
If Perla is crying her lil ol’ heart out...
We must be winning against the illegal alien invasion..
Yes, we cannot be PC and call them “illegals”... I think criminals sounds better anyway. And who give a flying %^$# what happens to their “criminal” businesses anyway?
The rule of law in America is on the brink of total fatality.
Hmmmmmm... When we want to cater to one group we are called racists. But let an "immigrant" cater to his group and we are all supposed to cry when his racism and xenophobia costs him his business.
You didnt fix anything...
You just joined Perla “Call them anything but illegal aliens” Treviso...
They are ILLEGAL ALIENS...
(Plus foreign invaders)
Politically correct garbage by Perla Trevizo. Was she borne here?
And of course, since a record-shattering spending/taxing binge is about to start, what better way could there be to direct where those new $$ go to, than to create a new Affirmative Action program for "Undocumented Worker Owned Businesses"? I.e, expanding the current "set-aside" program so as to take away government contracts now going to businesses owned by legal Americans - who are clearly getting far more than their fair share of the pie anyway, and award them instead to "undocumented Americans".
And it's vitally important that these tens of millions of illegals be given citizenship and voter ID cards pre-marked "Democrat" asap, so that they can vote in the next election to provide the Democrats with a filibuster-proof Senate. And it's important that these formerly undocumented workers get all kinds of tax dollars shoved their way, so that they'll have plenty in their pockets to give back when the fundraising letters from the DNC arrive in their mailboxes before 2012, when the plan is for Emperor Obama to be re-elected by acclamation.
Our economy is too dependent on “NON-CITIZEN IMMIGRANTS” to allow them to fail. We need a quick response from our legislators to draft a multi-billion dollar bail-out plan to ensure that “NON-CITIZEN IMMIGRANTS” do not fail! (/sarc)
oye! Que Lastima......
I’m just all broken up about this. Not!
Yes, Perla was born here...
I met her shortly after she joined the paper...
I dont know her family background though...
One positive thing about the recession is that it is doing what Congress refused to do.
Now Build the Freakin’ Fence.
I DON’T CARE! Who cared when mom and pop stores were ran out of business by Walmart? Nobody. It’s the national economy and if they can’t handle it then they can leave and not let the door hit them on their way back. They can also stop taking jobs Americans will do as well. Most Tennesseean’s I know will work at about any factory. Tennessee has a sufficent willing to work strong work ethic labor force. Illegals are here taking jobs and lowering wages in doing so. Not to mention the average Joe who tries to open let’s say a legal landscape and lawn service company. He can’t! Maybe now if illegals go home he can.
Will that be dollars or pesos?
Yet he could bother to learn English. That might have helped the business. I'm really starting to hate these touchy stories that are supposed to make me feel bad for them. Get the hell out!