At El Mercado in Hartford, you can find a bit of everything. From yucca to papaya, to tres leches cake and flan.
“Any country in North and South America, whatever you’re looking for in your country or mine, you’ll find something here,” said company owner Ramon Flores.
Flores has been in business for almost 30 years. He was born in the Dominican Republic and when he came to Connecticut he saw the need for a Hispanic supermarket.
“I am 100% dedicated to the Spanish community,” Flores said.
On Tuesday, state officials and Hartford city leaders gathered to recognize its storefront and 20 other Latinx-owned businesses in the area.
“We are a proud diverse city with a strong and proud Latino community and a strong and engaged Latino business community,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.
“These are people who work almost seven days a week, they have many hours, they have hardly any time for themselves, but they want to do well for their families. They want to send their children to college, they want to buy a house,” said Julio Mendoza, executive director of SAMA.
As they celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month, the group took a moment to think of the thousands affected by Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico.
“We want everyone to know that Connecticut is ready to do its part to help, as we have done in the past,” Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said.
Bronin said the capital was ready to welcome families from the devastated island.
“Our school system, as always, is ready to welcome children if they come to our community, especially if children come to live with family members here in Hartford,” Bronin said.
The United States Small Business Administration also stepped in to provide financial assistance. Business owners can apply for low interest disaster relief loans.
“It will be used either to rebuild their homes or for businesses to rebuild, homes to rebuild, or tenants who have been flooded,” said SBA Deputy District Manager Julio Casiano.