Regional Latino chamber to mark first year with event

The Western Colorado Latino Chamber of Commerce celebrates its one-year anniversary Wednesday with a special after-hours event featuring Greg Lopez, Colorado district director of the U.S Small Business Administration.

Members and non-members are invited to network and meet Lopez from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 743 Horizon Drive. The celebration will feature food, drinks, prizes and live music by Javier de los Santos, said Susan Welk de Valdez, chamber spokeswoman.

Lopez, who traveled from Denver for the chamber event, will speak to the public about the Affordable Care Act and small business today, the day before the anniversary celebration, starting at 2:30 p.m.

His lecture, “What the health care law means for small businesses,” takes place at Mesa County Libraries’ central branch, 443 N. Sixth St.

The Latino chamber, formed in February 2013 to give a voice to Latino-owned businesses in western Colorado, is a great portal to the Latino community, Valdez said.

“It fills a niche created as a result of the increasing numbers of Hispanic consumers and Hispanic business owners in the region,” she said.

The majority of its members are from the Grand Junction area, but a newly formed western Colorado branch is living up to its name, drawing in member businesses from Rifle, Delta and Montrose.

“The Latino chamber attracted more than 50 members ­— both Hispanic and non-Hispanic — who believe in its commitment to building bridges and promoting business for all,” Valdez said.

At the same time, the Latino chamber is becoming the “go-to” source for organizations or individuals looking for Spanish-English interpreters and translators, as well as cultural consultation on marketing to the Latino population, she said. 

Among the array of services the chamber is developing is its Leads Groups, which consist of 12 or so members representing 12 distinct business areas. Through leads, referrals and the sharing of best practices and encouragement, group members build a network of trust and confidence.

The chamber currently hosts two leads groups. One is conducted in English and the other in Spanish.

For more information about the Western Colorado Latino Chamber of Commerce or its anniversary celebration, call 209-5320 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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