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Old 06-03-2010, 09:32 PM
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Ayatollahgondola Ayatollahgondola is offline
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Default Latino Themed Businesses Going Bust Too

By using a web robot, I was able to start hunting for the recession's effects on our counterparts. Seems they are having financial problems too, and what's more, they can't seem to diversify enough, quickly enough to save the day.

From Craigs list today:

Quote:
Ritmo Latino
One of our retail locations just closed and we are liquidating everything, from TVs to displays and much more!
Please come and get some GREAT DEALS during this EXTREMELY LIMITED TIME ONLY!

Some of the things we have:

Sensormatic Pedestals
Book Shelves
Safe
Displays
Slat Wall
TV's
Ladders
Custodial Equipment

...and MORE!
and from last year:

Quote:
Ritmo Latino Closes Its Doors

They squinted into the emptied space at Mission and 20th streets and wondered aloud what had happened to the record store where they had passed many an afternoon.

The neon sign still screams RITMO LATINO, but inside on Saturday only a few boxes remained.

“It’s really unfortunate,” said Jorge Bermeo in Spanish. He’d headed to the store around midday to use the money transferring service the store provided; though he planned, like usual, to stick around an extra 10 or 15 minutes to listen at one of the store’s music stations.

“It was a way to pass the time,” said Bermeo wistfully about the store that had become a fixture for many. It closed on Tuesday, after 19 years in business.
“We could come to distract ourselves for a while,” he said.

“I don’t know why they closed it,” said Pedro Galicia to the rest of the his Mariachi band, Los Leones del Bajio, who stopped on their way to a nearby gig to stare at the closing signs.

“It always looked full.”

The Mission Street store is the 16th Ritmo Latino location to close this year. The store’s sales plummeted precipitously in the last year, as Mission Loc@l reported last week, and its managers struggled to find ways to diversify merchandise in order to keep the location afloat: music wasn’t selling like it used to.

Many who stopped on Saturday to speculate about the store’s demise chalked it up to the economy.

“People still went in, but I guess they just didn’t buy,” surmised Bermeo.
“There’s no money,” said Juan Hernandez simply. The Mission Street resident had been a Ritmo regular since 1997, but admitted that he hadn’t bought anything from the store in months—he preferres to get his music online, where he can purchase individual songs for just 99 cents.

But some customers that stopped by Ritmo’s former location on Saturday say they still prefer to buy CDs the old fashioned way.

Fernando Hernandez had already paid half the price on a Tigres del Norte CD he pre-ordered from the store last week. He came by on Saturday with the remaining cash in hand to pick up his purchase.

“We always used to come here,” said Hernandez in Spanish, looking dazed from the realization that the store had closed so suddenly.
“I guess I’ll have to go to Oakland now,” he said, referring to a sign directing customers to Ritmo’s location on International Blvd. A neighboring poster announced that T-Mobile is hiring salespeople at the site—a not-so-subtle hint as to the storefront’s next occupant.

Julio Lucero, the owner of Julio’s, a Latin music store five blocks south at 25th and Mission Streets, hopes that Ritmo’s former customers will find his 16-year-old store.

“We’ve survived so far,” said Lucero speaking in Spanish. But the last year and a half hasn’t been easy—sales have dropped by nearly 50 percent, he said.

“We’re optimistic that it could bring us more business,” he said of Ritmo’s departure.

“It’s hard for us, as a small business, to compete with a big store—to compete with the prices they could offer.”
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:53 PM
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Bri-M Bri-M is offline
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When times are good they let treat gringos like they aren't welcome in their establishments. Us gringos go elsewhere to shop.
Stupid as it is they limit their customer base and screw themselves in the process.
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Old 06-07-2010, 07:49 PM
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ilbegone ilbegone is offline
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Originally Posted by Bri-M View Post
When times are good they let treat gringos like they aren't welcome in their establishments. Us gringos go elsewhere to shop.
Stupid as it is they limit their customer base and screw themselves in the process.
I've seen this quite often.

There are others who will charge an English speaking white American or American born Latinos twice as much as they would a Mexican national while putting on the "my friend" act.

There are others who are fairly non discriminatory concerning sales to their customer base, regardless as to how dishonest they are concerning legality or following appropriate business regulations.

I still fail to understand how someone can come to this country illegally and penniless, work for peanuts, and still somehow open a restaurant. That is one tough business needing savvy and financial means, and regulatory and other hoops to be jumped through are daunting and difficult, often for the connected as well as the newcomer total stranger in town.
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Old journeyman commenting on young apprentices - "Think about it, these are their old days"

SOMETIMES IT JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.

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Last edited by ilbegone; 06-07-2010 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 06-07-2010, 07:58 PM
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Jeanfromfillmore Jeanfromfillmore is offline
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Originally Posted by ilbegone View Post
I've seen this quite often.

There are others who will charge an English speaking white American or American born Latinos twice as much as they would a Mexican national while putting on the "my friend" act.

There are others who are fairly non discriminatory concerning sales to their customer base, regardless as to how dishonest they are concerning legality or following appropriate business regulations.

I still fail to understand how someone can come to this country illegally and penniless, work for peanuts, and still somehow open a restaurant. That is one tough business needing savvy and financial means, and regulatory and other hoops to be jumped through are daunting and difficult, often for the connected as well as the newcomer total stranger in town.
Some of the restaurants are opened by the drug cartels and they use them to laundry money and make connections.
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Old 09-05-2010, 03:02 PM
Kathy63 Kathy63 is offline
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THIS store is begging for sympathy because those mean nasty gringos won't shop at their store. It's all the fault of the Americans. It's really racism.

Why didn't Blockbuster think of that when they closed? Or Hollywood Video? Or any of the other stores selling a technology that has become dated. This store knows (and is forced to admit it) that their customers have gone to buying their music on line. The only reason why anyone came through the door was to hang out and listen to some freebies.

They need to all have a collective hand wringing.
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:55 PM
DerailAmnesty.com DerailAmnesty.com is offline
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Originally Posted by Bri-M View Post
When times are good they let treat gringos like they aren't welcome in their establishments. Us gringos go elsewhere to shop.
Stupid as it is they limit their customer base and screw themselves in the process.
That hasn't been my experience. Every time I've patronized businesses that serve an almost entirely minority clientele, they've always seemed happy to see me, or a combination of stunned and happy to see me.

Anecdotal Examples:

- When I lived in New Orleans, I had an apartment about a block and a half off St. Charles Avenue (nice old southern Victorian houses, uptown section, right near where Mardi Gras parades go by). Two blocks past me was an area my neighbors used to refer to as The War Zone. No one lighter than Mariah Carey would dream of walking in there. At least not anybody who had lived in the Crescent City for more than a month. Me, I wasn't hung up about traipsing through there (which immediately made me, to the locals, some sort of weirdo with a death wish), but I wouldn't have set even a toe in there after sundown.

It just so happened that at the edge of this section was a corner grocery that was a about a block closer to my residence than the nearest one in the habitable-for-white-folks section near St. Charles. Consequently, about once a month (over a period of two years), I sauntered into this establishment (often wearing a suit) to purchase a carton of milk, toilet paper, a bottle of beer, etc. etc.). About the first three times I went up to the register, the people behind it looked genuinely stunned. The shock lasted for about 5 to 8 seconds, then a look of happiness/hope washed over the proprietor/family member pulling a shift. Why, because I'm so great? Hardly. I'm white and these folks would be THRILLED to get the business of yuppies, private college students, locals and retirees who lived a few blocks away and happened to be wrapped in melanin-deprived skin. They understood, however, that there were limitations to the customers they could hope to attract into their area, based upon reasons that every southerner understands. Me, I was just some sort of freak occurence in their universe made possible by having grown up on the West Coast. Those folks were faultlessly polite and friendly to me once they got over the shock of the initial visits.

- My sister has been dating a Mexican guy for a little over a year. He's a nice enough character who has repeatedly told us (Mom, Sis, Wife) that we don't have a clue where the truly spectacular Mexican food in L.A. can be found. He is a particular fan of tortas and had made mention, several times, of this little mobile camper (unhitched from any vehicle) that serves the best in all of SoCal. It is located in Illegal Alien Central, south of the I-10, but just west of downtown.

Finally, after months of this having come up in various conversations, Sister's Boyfriend, Asian Wife, Even-Paler-Than-Sam Sister and I headed over on a Saturday afternoon, to said dining facility. This place, which is situated in the parking lot of a run-down liquor store, and must be in violation of a couple dozen health code provisions, serves no beverages. To get something to drink, one must patronize the run-down liquor store (that also sells dusty pinatas!).

My sister had made it very clear to me, beforehand, that I was not to even think of reaching for my wallet at any time during this trip b/c, apparently, Boyfriend (who is not the wealthiest guy in the world) had felt somewhat uncomfortable on about the half dozen occasions he had gone out to dinner with my family (and I picked up the bill). Consequently, when Boyfriend went into the liquor store I ordered nothing at the Torta stand/camper. I simply stood there with my sister and wife in the parking lot and translated the Spanish language menu. My sister hadn't been to this place before, our Mexican guide was nowhere to be seen (inside the liquor store buying Modelo), and to say that we looked out of place (particularly, I guess, to the non-English speakers eating their food while sitting on plastic buckets and crates), would probably be a grand understatement. Not only that, but we had arrived in a vehicle that only a drug dealer or pimp would have in that section of town (sans the rims).

Anway, as I'm standing there reading the menu, out of this steaming hot camper came two Latinas, who I'd guess were in their late 20's. Both spoke some English and approached us with beaming smiles. They asked us if we had any questions and, you could see, they were dying to ask "How the f did you three wind up here?" All questions (I guess) were answered when, shortly thereafter, Boyfriend exited the liquor store with brewskis in hand and headed over to where we were located.

On an even more entertaining/interesting note, the second one approached my wife as the first one was talking to me and said "Knee how, ma ...," to which my spouse promptly replied "I'm not Chinese." This girl didn't miss a beat and immediately switched over to rudimentary Japanese.

Based upon that, I assumed that this young lady (and maybe her sister) were from TJ, because the majority of the street vendors there know at least a little Chinese or Japanese, and use it to attract Asian visitors.

And as a side note to conclude the story, the food was superb. I don't know how many squirrels or family pets gave their lives in its creation, but it was delicious.

What is the moral of these stories? Proprietors want customers. And if you're white, that's usually an extra point or two b/c they usually figure you have money to spend. They'll be nice to you, even if they don't like "your kind" (blue eyed, continent stealing, too-lazy-to-do-real-work white devils) b/c they want your money. In a perfect universe, they want you to speak well about them/their products/their service and send your equally white/financially comfortable cohorts their way. Capitalism is capitalism, folks. Green trumps skin color.

That's been my experience, at least. With blacks and browns (and yellows found overseas, now that I think about it). The worst thing that can happen is they'll charge you the price they reserve for white folks.
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Last edited by DerailAmnesty.com; 09-06-2010 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 09-07-2010, 05:56 AM
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ilbegone ilbegone is offline
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That's A great story, enjoyed it.

It's a mixed bag for me.

Off the top of my head I've been to places in Fontana, Riverside/Rubidoux, San Diego, and down town LA where it was like the music stopped and everyone looked up when I/we walked in the door. And the usual clientele of those places weren't just "minority", they were mostly Latin American foreign nationals and the help generally didn't speak much English, not even "restaurant" English.

On the other hand, there's other places where I've been welcome.

Two places come to mind as extreme examples:

A co worker (who's grandparents were from El Salvador) and I went into a pupuseria at Sherman Way and Mason in the SF Valley. The Mexican national who waited on us couldn't really speak English, but she was extremely friendly and really helpful, even chatted with us. I tipped her extra.

We came back next week. There were three women looking at us through the access hole between the dining room and kitchen with a "what the hell are they doing here" look. It was like we brought a stench in with us.

One of them came out to wait on us, she was rude and obviously unhappy with our presence. She slammed our drinks down along with a squeeze bottle of central American condiment (which she slammed harder). She didn't speak English, or at least was pretending not to - I'm more inclined to believe she wasn't pretending.

Someone who appeared to be the owner arrived and began tinkering with some fixtures. I approached and informed him I didn't appreciate the attitude the young woman was flinging on us. I described the woman who served us the week before, we came back because she was so friendly and besides, we had money to spend as well as the fact that we were the only customers present. The man said he'd have a talk with the waitress, then went back to tinkering.

That pissed me off. I returned to the man and informed him I wasn't going to be treated in the manner I had been and we walked out, just as the food came out. It was the last I went there, and the only time I have walked out like that.

On the other hand, there is a place in the SF Valley (owners aren't Latin American but most of the help is) where one of the waitresses was an unusual young Mexican national (she had some life experiences most Mexicans don't) who came here as a non English speaking adult. She is fluent in English and was in her last year at Cal State Northridge at the time.

I had quite a few very interesting conversations with her (some of them difficult due to the subject matter), and I had not been going there very long before the various Mexican women with the blank, not seeing you look on their face who bussed and washed became friendly and began greeting me with a smile whenever I came in and good by-ing me when I left. I consider the waitress as a friend, and she I as well.

As for the "white devil's money", it's been my observation that Mexican Nationals generally don't tip.

Something I have noticed concerning the good food: Those places which have mostly a white American clientele will serve crap on a plate with various "Mexican" names attached to the dishes, and the Mexican cooks don't eat the slop they sling. I've known of Male Mexican cooks in one of those places who will bring in a Mexican woman to cook for them, probably one of their wives. The best food generally comes from places where English is not spoken, the tortillas hand patted, same food is a little different every day, and women do all the cooking. And if they're out of a menu item today, they don't know if they'll have it tomorrow or next week - a benign "it's not my concern" attitude.

All and all it's a mixed bag. I have more stories, but will save them for another time.
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Hay burros en el maiz

RAP IS TO MUSIC WHAT ETCH-A-SKETCH IS TO ART

Don't drink and post.

"A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat." - Old New York Yiddish Saying

"You can observe a lot just by watching." Yogi Berra

Old journeyman commenting on young apprentices - "Think about it, these are their old days"

SOMETIMES IT JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.

Never, ever, wear a bright colored shirt to a stand up comedy show.


Last edited by ilbegone; 09-07-2010 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 09-09-2010, 05:02 PM
EastCoastGrannie EastCoastGrannie is offline
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Originally Posted by ilbegone View Post
I've seen this quite often.

There are others who will charge an English speaking white American or American born Latinos twice as much as they would a Mexican national while putting on the "my friend" act.

There are others who are fairly non discriminatory concerning sales to their customer base, regardless as to how dishonest they are concerning legality or following appropriate business regulations.

I still fail to understand how someone can come to this country illegally and penniless, work for peanuts, and still somehow open a restaurant. That is one tough business needing savvy and financial means, and regulatory and other hoops to be jumped through are daunting and difficult, often for the connected as well as the newcomer total stranger in town.
Tom Tancredo says that many of their businesses are fronts for money laundering. I too have wondered how these businesse can spring up like mushrooms after a rain. These businesses are not just in the southwest but they are in places like Georgia.

You can tell that they target certain communities because people from the town of Farmingville have said that the illegals started showing up over one summer. That fall their were so many foreign kids in the schools and no one knew where they were coming from. I think that as they target certain areas, they also are funding the new businesses. Also, don't be surprised if these businesses are getting our tax money to get started and don't forget those big money liberal foundations.
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:24 AM
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ilbegone ilbegone is offline
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Originally Posted by EastCoastGrannie View Post
Tom Tancredo says that many of their businesses are fronts for money laundering. I too have wondered how these businesse can spring up like mushrooms after a rain. These businesses are not just in the southwest but they are in places like Georgia.

You can tell that they target certain communities because people from the town of Farmingville have said that the illegals started showing up over one summer. That fall their were so many foreign kids in the schools and no one knew where they were coming from. I think that as they target certain areas, they also are funding the new businesses. Also, don't be surprised if these businesses are getting our tax money to get started and don't forget those big money liberal foundations.
A small kitchen runs about $400,000 to build and stock with small wares. You need enough capital to operate for three years without profit. Net profit, before personal taxes, is about 4%.

You deal with a perishable product and fluctuating prices as well as a fickle public.

Everyone from local governments to the EPA (who are unmitigated butt holes to business) has their hand out, quarterly taxes are essentially audited every quarter. That's not to mention compliance with the fire code (yes, the fire marshal is involved), local ordinances, and the health department.

If you don't have your own money behind you, you are working for the landlord and whatever "money partners" are involved as well as everyone mentioned above.

It seems to me that even in the best scenarios the restaurant business is a real juggling act.

So how can penniless third worlders waltz in with some family recipies and a Betty Crocker cook book and make it?

I've heard of the government loans to "immigrants", but haven't seen just where and whom to apply to. It can't be a secret.

Does anybody know how a foreigner can arrive one day and get a loan from the US government to open a restaurant the next?
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Freibier gab's gestern

Hay burros en el maiz

RAP IS TO MUSIC WHAT ETCH-A-SKETCH IS TO ART

Don't drink and post.

"A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat." - Old New York Yiddish Saying

"You can observe a lot just by watching." Yogi Berra

Old journeyman commenting on young apprentices - "Think about it, these are their old days"

SOMETIMES IT JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.

Never, ever, wear a bright colored shirt to a stand up comedy show.

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