Chamber in the News

chamber_in_newsBy carefully developing and scrupulously maintaining a culture based on sound governance,  exemplary leadership,  transparency,  and accountability,  and a business ethics that rests upon the six principles of Character Counts!,  the Chamber has become an influential advocate for the business community and the community at large and,  at the same time,  it has been also extraordinarily successful in being portrayed accurately by the news media.

Morevoer,  our strategically selective and low-key approach in addressing a variety of business and social issues has yielded significant goodwill and results, and has enabled the Chamber to maintain high visibility in the community and be a consequential player in local and regional affairs.

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The Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will host a Cinco de Mayo celebration from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Mariachi Restaurant, 5854 Urbana Pike, Frederick.

Mega Market International, a Hispanic grocery chain based in Silver Spring, has kept pace with the Latino population boom in suburban Maryland, opening five stores in the past decade.  The supermarkets sprang up in central immigrant hubs in Prince George's and Montgomery counties, including Hyattsville and Rockville. New arrivals from Latin America and the Caribbean can find familiar labels of beans, flours and grains from back home at these 10,000-square-foot stores.

Jose Perez,  part owner of Frederick’s Cacique,  MexiCali Cantina and,  most recently,  Mariachi restaurants,  said that since about October 2007,  business has dropped significantly.  By mid-2006,  more than a year and a half before government statistics proved the obvious,  Jorge Ribas saw symptoms of an economic downturn.

Marvia Sawyer knows Latino business owners face the same challenges as others in the tough economy.  But as the new vice president of the Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce,  Sawyer said her goals are to strengthen the organization,  grow membership and increase the group's visibility and its membership. She will oversee the Frederick County Chapter of the chamber.

Remember the famous BlackBerry that then-President-elect Barack Obama toted around during his frenzied transition period?  That device — and every other computer system the transition team used — was provided and integrated by a homegrown Hispanic-owned business, MicroTech Inc. of Vienna.

Gov. Martin O'Malley touted his new initiatives to boost job creation at a Baltimore business summit . . . but business leaders gave the proposals mixed reviews. After he pointed out that "three out of five jobs in the state are created by small and family-owned businesses," O'Malley (D) outlined plans to help businesses . . . "An economic agenda that strengthens small businesses and create jobs is, face value, a sound approach," said Jorge Ribas, president and CEO of the Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. "But this recession will not lead to recovery as fast as past recessions," Ribas said, "because credit remains so tight."

El desempleo entre los latinos del area golpea no sólo a la población más vulnerable económicamente sino también a empresarios y familias establecidas, observó el lunes 9, el presidente de una importante cámara de comercio hispana en la región de Washington.

Frederick's business community got one last chance Friday to question city candidates about annexations, growth, permitting and how they would attract more commerce to Frederick. The event was a collaboration among the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, the Frederick County African-American Chamber of Commerce and the Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

During a little-discussed piece of business last week, the [Montgomery] County Council voted to extend the county's minority business program another three years while a review is completed. In the meantime, business participants have recommendations for county administrators: better publicity of available contracts and more opportunities for smaller companies.

A big challenge awaits.  That's the consensus of many state business leaders of what lies ahead for whoever succeeds David W. Edgerley as secretary of the Department of Business and Economic Development.  Edgerley announced his resignation this week, effective Jan. 30, after almost two years on the job.

With the news that Pradeep Ganguly will not return from a paid leave of absence and that the search for a new director of the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development has begun, many business leaders and county officials say the county needs to be more business-friendly and jump-start its efforts to retain and attract new businesses.

Gov. Martin O'Malley's new outreach program for small and minority-owned businesses is a step in the right direction but communication and sensitivity from the state leaves much to be desired, several business people said Monday.

Frederick County has the 15th fastest-growing Hispanic population in the country, according to a study released Thursday.  The county's Hispanic population has nearly tripled since 2000 and now stands at 12,900, according to a study by the Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center.

The Hispanic business community is a growing economic force in the Quad-State region, and the Mid-Atlantic Chamber of Commerce is beginning to tap into it.

If anyone has his finger on the pulse of the local Hispanic business community,  it’s José R. Larios.  As head of Larios Communications,  the publishing firm of a regional Hispanic weekly newspaper,  Larios knows some of the struggles Latino business owners face as they try to run their operation in an English-speaking community.  That’s why he sees promise in a new partnership between the Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Winchester-based Top of Virginia Regional Chamber.

Thursday, 24 April 2008 20:40

Pain at the pump

Written by

Frederick florist Susan Rice remembers paying no more than $600 a month last year to fill up her delivery van at the two gas stations she has used for years.  Rice doled out about $1,000 at those stations last month, as gasoline prices soared to new heights.

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