In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re excited to highlight virtual and Pittsburgh-based small businesses that are ushering in more representation in their respective industries.
Every year, the U.S. observes Hispanic Heritage Month from September to October. Hispanic Heritage Month provides an opportunity to honor individuals of Hispanic descent and highlight their culture, traditions, and impact. Today, nearly one in four new businesses is Hispanic-owned, and almost five million businesses in the United States are Hispanic-owned, bringing in more than $800 billion each year. Since most small businesses have limited resources, your support is essential. In addition to boosting the economy when you purchase from these companies, you also enable these mom-and-pop stores to continue operating.
We want to bring attention to small Hispanic-owned businesses providing cutting-edge services and products and promoting better representation in their respective fields.
Pittsburgh-Based Hispanic-Owned Small Businesses
Located in Mount Lebanon, Panadería Jazmin bakes various fresh, traditional Mexican bread and desserts. This little sliver of a storefront packs a lot of flavor into a tiny space in Mt. Lebanon’s increasingly delicious Beverly Road business district. You can place orders on their website, and follow them on Facebook and Instagram for their most up-to-date menu selections and new items!
It feels like Taco Tuesday every day at Totopo! This Latin-owned and run restaurant in Pittsburgh started in Dormont and was recently named one of the top 15 places to get tableside guacamole in the U.S. by Yelp.
Latin American Cultural Center
Newly opened in September of 2022, the Latin American Cultural Center features a small but highly informative museum display and live programming in an intimate performance venue highlighting the diverse cultures, music, film, and current-day issues of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Del Caimán was founded by Cubans to share the true beauty of Cuban culture as experienced by Cubans. They empower diverse artists with a platform for the global community, showing what runs through their veins as Cubans and how that comes to life through art.
Cilantro & Ajo
Founded by Marlyn and Anthony, a Venezuelan couple that shares a love for the traditional food of their country with traditional recipes and delectable food. One of the only spots — if not the only spot — in Pittsburgh specializing in Venezuelan street food, Cilantro & Ajo has a food truck in addition to their brick-and-mortar restaurant in the South Side.
Building New Hope
Building New Hope is a volunteer-driven nonprofit organization based in Pittsburgh and Nicaragua. Building New Hope collaborates with Central Americans to build sustainable livelihoods by linking people and communities with educational and economic opportunities. New Hope Coffee is grown by the farmers of the El Porvenir Cooperative located in León, Nicaragua. The green beans are roasted to order by 19 Coffee Company, a specialty micro-roaster in Pittsburgh, PA.
Online Hispanic-Owned Small Businesses
Yo Soy AfroLatina
Yo Soy AfroLatina was founded by Bianca Kathryn when she saw the underrepresentation of Afro-Latinx people in her neighborhood. She started a lifestyle company to empower and embrace her identity so that others could see themselves represented and celebrated.
Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein, two mothers, founded Lil’ Libros to promote bilingual reading among young children by providing them with books that honor inclusivity, diversity, and authenticity. Lil’ Libros has sold over 1.5 million books worldwide with consistent growth.
Fifth-generation coffee farmer Maria Jose Palacio established Progeny Coffee to free Colombian farmers from poverty. Progeny has taken on the challenge of designing its coffee chain by providing absolute coffee transparency and unprecedented support to coffee growers stuck in a poverty loop.
Bonita Fierce Candles
Melissa Gallardo, a Salvadoran-American, created her own brand in 2020 called Bonita Fierce Candles. The small business creates scented candles with distinct aromas that Melissa grew up around. Her candle range includes a variety of warming and calming scents, including “cafecito con leche,” which is inspired by Latin American coffee, “coquito,” a scent reminiscent of traditional Puerto Rican eggnog, and “abuelas bakery,” a candle meant to make you nostalgic for home.
The Designing Chica
Susana Sanchez-Young created the Designing Chica after having an epiphany during her pregnancy nine years ago. She couldn’t find nursery artwork that fit her style and culture, where she realized the need for cultured artwork. All of her artwork is available in various products like coffee mugs, T-shirts, pins, and large framed prints. If you can imagine it, it can be produced and shipped directly to you from Society6!
Alter Eco is a small business that is revolutionizing the chocolate industry. Their slogan is “the cleanest, greenest chocolate,” as the company’s mission is to create food that nourishes the Earth rather than depleting it. They work on small-scale fair trade farms, practice dynamic forestry, which can mitigate climate change, and launched the world’s first commercially compostable candy wrapper in 2013, to name just a few of their many sustainable practices.
Cut + Clarity
As an immigrant from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Cut + Clarity founder Mariana Russo Chambers lives out passion and tradition in every aspect of her life, creating one-of-a-kind jewelry with recycled gold from products good for the environment and community.
ÉTICA, a Los Angeles-based premium denim business, was founded on the principles of social responsibility, ethical manufacturing, and fair labor. On a mission to support local communities, ÉTICA recycles its water for use on local farms, compresses spent washstones into bricks for low-income housing, and collaborates with groups supporting global environmental and workers’ rights campaigns.
Most bubble bath products contain floral scents, something Javier Folgar wanted to change. As someone who takes bubble baths himself, the entrepreneur is on a mission to end the social stigma around men enjoying baths, which led to the creation of his small business, Toa Waters. Tao Waters bubble baths come in a variety of bold scents, including teakwood, rum, sandalwood, and tobacco. All of the products are vegan and made with organic and responsibly sourced ingredients.