Latinx business owners are growing rapidly across Minnesota, and local owners are using the platform to nurture more entrepreneurs within their communities.
Latina business owner Laura Merino Franco shows her Colombian roots by designing jewelry.
“We make beautiful and intricate jewelry. We specialize in filigree, an ancient technique,” says Merino-Franco, founder of Primitiva Collective.
Two years ago she started her own business, Primitiva Jewelry.
She is the brain behind the design. She then ships it back to Colombia where the craftsmen bring it to life.
In May 2022, she took it one step further.
She opened Primativa Collective, an uptown boutique featuring 30 female artisans across Minnesota.
“We’re 25% Latino and many are immigrants, so it’s incredible to see how we’re thriving,” Merino Franco said.
Minnesota saw a 60% increase in Hispanic businesses between 2012 and 2019, according to the latest census data.
“I think it’s important to be fully represented. Everyone should feel that Minnesota is for them,” said Henry Jimenez, executive director of the Latino Center for Economic Development. At the Latino Economic Development Center, Jiménez has seen first-hand the growth of Latino businesses.
“The Latino population here in Minnesota continues to grow, and so does the appetite of other Minnesotans, interested in Latinx culture and Latinx food,” he said.
If it’s food or jewelry, Merino-Franco says showcasing one’s culture and uplifting others in the process has entrepreneurial value.
“I’m a firm believer in the collective power of working together. Rowing together. It’s something that has always been dear to my heart,” Merino Franco said.
On Saturday, September 24th from 11am to 4pm, the “Taco Tour” returns to Lake Street for the first time in five years.