Latinos increase their buying power

Brady McCombs and Donna Gray
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson Luis Polar is the editor of La Misión, a monthly Spanish newspaper in the Roaring Fork Valley.

In Sept. 2001, Luis Polar started a Spanish-language newspaper, La Misión, to serve the growing Latino population in the mountain area surrounding Glenwood Springs. Today, the monthly newspaper reaches 20,000 – 30,000 readers between Aspen, Avon and Parachute. Polar, a native of Puerto Rico who moved to the U.S. in 1989, said the influx of immigrants – many illegal, some legal – in the past decade has helped the economy in Glenwood Springs. La Misión has grown from eight to 36 pages and the ads have tripled, Polar said.

He said businesses in Glenwood Springs are selling more cars, food and products. It’s helped established English-language businesses grow and newer Spanish-language businesses start up. Many of the La Misión’s ads are from English-language businesses translated into Spanish, Polar said.”Little by little, the commercial community has seen that the Hispanic community has the possibility of generating sales for them,” Polar said.

Other Spanish-language newspapers have found similar success. La Tribuna, in Greeley, has exceeded sales expectations by about 30 percent and increased circulation from 10,000 in Greeley to 20,000 throughout Northern Colorado since it first published last January. Such publications naturally attract advertising from businesses targeting the Latino community.”There is a big network of businesses that are specifically serving the immigrant community,” said Polar, the only paid-employee at La Misión.

Last year, Latino businessmen and women formed Club Rotario to encourage and support Latino businesses in the Roaring Fork Valley. The thousands of illegal immigrants who have come to the valley in the past decade have contributed to the growing Latino buying power that have made clubs like this and businesses like La Misión possible, Polar said.

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