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From Lujan’s Bakery, a Las Cruces fixture since 1955, to Spaceport America, the Las Cruces Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is partnering with local businesses, individuals, families and organizations to fulfill its mission of providing leadership “for the advancement of economic prosperity for our region and diverse membership.”
The chamber “is reaching out to members” and becoming more involved in the community, said chamber board member Israel Chavez, a Las Cruces native.
“What else can we do to help our businesses?” is the question chamber staff and volunteers are asking, said Chavez.
Staff and board members want to ensure “Hispanic and Latino institutions have access to the services they need,” he said.
For Chavez, that includes helping to navigate “the legal landscape of business,” he said. Chavez, 31, is a Las Cruces attorney and president of the Southern New Mexico Bar Association.
“I try to be a link,” he said.
The Hispanic Chamber is working to represent “the communities of color in this economy” throughout Doña Ana County,” and to honor the area’s “rich border history,” said Chavez, who is also president of the Doña Ana Village Association, which he said represents the oldest continuously inhabited community in the Mesilla Valley.
Chavez’s 93-year-old grandmother lives in Mesilla, he said, and he is the proud owner of the guitar his great-grandfather played as a mariachi musician.
Uplifting businesses in small communities and colonias across the county through their “individual identities and cultures … is a source of pride” for the chamber, Chavez said. “We need to highlight and celebrate that economic diversity.”
Through its support of diverse businesses, the chamber is becoming “a new and different voice about what economic prosperity means, he said, and rethinking what it means to be pro-business.”
Chavez said the chamber also wants to help entrepreneurs with their startups to create “rich, vibrant Latino businesses.”
The chamber also wants the business community and local and state governments to be more user friendly to all county residents, whether their first language is English or Spanish, he said.
“Why aren’t all state government websites fully translated?” Chavez asked.
The state should also integrate and communicate better with local government on issues impacting small businesses, including business licensing, he said.
“The chamber wants to foster these conversations,” Chavez said.
What’s the best way to help the Hispanic Chamber achieve its goals?
“Join the chamber is the best start,” he said.
“The Las Cruces Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was initiated in 1991 as the Hispano Chamber of Doña Ana County, and in 1992 incorporated as the Hispano Chamber of Commerce de Las Cruces,” according to the chamber website. “In 2013, the name was changed to what we know today as the Las Cruces Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“The Chamber started with only 10 paid members, a number that has since grown to more than 300 paid members in Las Cruces, Alamogordo, southern Doña Ana County, El Paso and Albuquerque.”
The chamber office is located in suite 305 at 277 E. Amador Ave. Call 575-524-8900. Email email@example.com.