Submitted by NAD on Thu, 10/29/2009 - 13:46
It's common wisdom that racial minorities are hurt more than whites in the recession. This is true for a key reason: people of color are overrepresented among those who are recently hired, have less overall years of job experience and therefore, are more likely to be laid off.
But for immigrants running small businesses, the picture is not so bleak, according to New America Media
. Although they struggle, they still remain focal points for cultural and social life within many communities of color. In addition, many entrepreneurs say the recession actually offers some interesting opportunities. From New American Media:
Recession or not, Mexican businesses that serve up traditional foods like conches, paletas, tacos and sopes to locals in San Francisco’s Mission District remain popular social gathering places in the neighborhood. But sales are another story.
“There used to be lines of people out the door. It’s not like it was,” said Estela Valle, 56, describing the drop in customers at her panadería, La Mexicana Bakery . . . Since the economy collapsed, Valle says she has seen a 40 percent drop in business. But the bakery continues to be popular among the usual crowd of housewives and construction workers, says Valle; they are just buying less. . . .
Nail salon owners, many of them Vietnamese immigrant women, say their businesses are slumping along with the economy.
Susan (Xuan) Le, owner of Susan’s Nail and Spa in Oakland, has been a manicurist for 20 years, and she says this is the hardest time. . . .
“People can’t afford it. They can’t afford to pay rent and eat, how can they have money to pay for manicures and pedicures?” she said. “They are coming back, but it’s taking longer than before. If they used to come every two weeks, now they’re coming in once a month. My income is cut in half.” . . .
While [others] cut back, Quyen Ton is venturing out on her own. After 14 years as a manicurist in other peoples’ shops, she decided to start her own business: White Daisy Nail Spa in San Francisco. “I have the skills and am good with customers. I had the ability and confidence to run my own business. I wanted to see if I could make a go of it, and make a better living,” Ton said.
Ton said a bad economy didn’t deter her. Instead it gave her an opportunity. “The good thing is that it’s easy to get a lease, they don’t require a lot, and it’s easier to negotiate a lower rent,” said Ton.