How Latino-owned businesses are surviving the COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Everyday we tell you about coronavirus cases nationwide and here in Florida.

But we want to spotlight the impact the pandemic is having on small business owners, especially those in the Latino community, and show you resources that could help.

“Before the pandemic hit we were business as usual. We had two concepts inside of a food hall. In March we were still operating in high volume and high season. So our numbers were doing great,” said R2 Provisions Rosana Rivera.

And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, impacting business for Rivera and her business partner Ricardo Castro. They run Xilo Mexican Restaurant and Kofe Coffee Shop in the Hall on Franklin in Tampa.

“We went from a Sunday that it was business as usual doing the numbers we were expecting, to on Monday the numbers were down more than 75%. “Our immediate reaction was to cut back on staff hours and also to cut back on purchasing,” said Rivera.

They reached out to the Tampa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which connected them with where and how to apply for loans and where to go for COVID-19 information.

“We are accomplishing our mission because, in the difficult times that is what we are here for, to make business happen in the Tampa Bay area,” said the President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Tampa Bay’s Diane Cortes.

This duo is getting the job done. Closing down their restaurant and now operating out of a kitchen in Clearwater and using an app called R2 Provisions to reach their customers.

“One of the things we had to adjust to was what were people ordering different than what we were making. “Anything that was baked or a pastry people were going for and we needed to start doing a lot of that,” said Castro.

Rivera and Castro are proud to serve as that example to other small business owners that you can set goals and survive during these trying times.

“Provide a service to the community and to be able to bring back our staff, that was a goal and we met that,” said Rivera.

To find out more about their menu and delivery/takeout options their new free app can be found using the website r2xilokofe.square.site. The chamber also promotes businesses using their social media and newsletter. For more information you can visit their website at, TampaHispanicChamber.com.

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