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New Hispanic Committee launched by Greater Idaho Falls Chamber

Greater Idaho Falls Chamber Hispanic Committee members Arturo Santillian, from Kicks N Sticks; Monica Alonso, from Citizens Community Bank; Maria Alvarez, from Conectate; Paul Baker, the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber CEO; Alfredo Avila, of Focal Point Coaching; and Carlos Luna, from Zenith Security are working to provide greater opportunities for Hispanic businesses.
IDAHO FALLS — Hispanics in the Idaho Falls area are joining forces to take a more active role in business development in the community.
The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber announced the creation of its first-ever Hispanic Committee Tuesday during the Chamber Connect event at the Westbank Convention Center.
“The vision that we have, the mission that we want is to help the Hispanic community – which is growing in this time, in this town – to integrate with the whole business community,” said Alfredo Avila, a business coach with Focal Point Coaching & Training Excellence.
Avila has an extensive track record of business success – having served on the senior management team that introduced Walmart to Mexico, supervising the construction of 27 Super Walmarts and multiple Sam’s Clubs before moving to Idaho Falls 21 years ago as an executive for Grupo Modelo.
The effort to create a Hispanic Committee is the culmination of three years of efforts to expand opportunities and increase collaboration between the Latino sector and other businesses in the community.
In 2021, Avila helped organize an event at the Westbank with 68 Hispanic businesses, Mayor Rebecca Casper and members of the Idaho Falls City Council.
“Education, new businesses, entrepreneurship, funding, financial education for people, language — all of those things are within the scope of what we want to do,” Avila said. “… We don’t want a segregated Hispanic community living on their own. We want to be part of the whole city. We want to benefit the city. We want the city to benefit from us.”
Hispanics represent the “Idaho Falls area’s second-largest growing demographic – making up 17% of the region’s population,” Greater Idaho Falls CEO Paul Baker presented.
Hispanics who have moved to Idaho Falls often face challenges of integration, language, and cultural issues in addition to adjusting to the geography and climate of Idaho, he said.
“So you’re kind of bombarded with a lot of issues when English isn’t your first language,” Baker said. “But also there’s this education piece that needs to happen within that community, in terms of how do you better integrate?”
Currently, Avila described Hispanic businesses as “insulated.”
“They support each other. They grow within the community, and they’re very eager to work — really hard workers — but they are real insulated,” he said. “They need to be exposed to the whole city. The whole city has to be exposed to them, and in that way, I think there is going to be a lot of growth that is going to be good for everybody.”
The committee will formalize opportunities for interactions between Hispanic business leaders and professionals who can help them expand their businesses, reach new markets and provide additional education.
“How do you better create a real sense of that kind of all-encompassing community spirit?” Baker asked. “The Hispanic community has got so much strength – there’s so much passion, so much love, and I would just want to see that expand and grow here. Then also, the wider community has that too. We all have that love for where we are, you know, as a common theme, and so let’s come together. Let’s find a way to integrate and work together and grow.”
Avila believes Hispanics have a unique contribution they can make to the fabric of what makes Idaho Falls a wonderful place to live.
“We’re trying to extract all of the good things that they can bring from their original cultures. We found people from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, Peru, Spain — it’s unbelievable the amount of richness we have here,” Avila said.
The post New Hispanic Committee launched by Greater Idaho Falls Chamber appeared first on East Idaho News.

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