Latino Chamber of Commerce hosts picnic for businesses
By G. Michael Dobbs
HOLYOKE -- Over 500 people were expected to attend a traditional Puerto Rican "Pig Roast" and picnic on Aug. 19 at the Nuestras Raices Farm.
The event -- which should become an annual tradition -- was presented by the Massachusetts Latino Chamber of Commerce, which opened its office in Holyoke earlier this year.
Besides traditional foods -- as well as hot dogs and hamburgers -- the day featured musical performances, health information and a raffle.
Carlos Gonzalez, president of the Chamber, explained to Reminder Publications, the daylong event was designed for small businesses to provide their workers with an "employees appreciation day."
"Small businesses don't have the money for fringe benefits," Gonzalez said. "This is a day off for employees so they can share with their families a traditional pig roast."
The National Kidney Foundation and the dental practice Dental Dreams were two of the partners for the day, Gonzalez said.
Part of the day's festivities was the presentation of certificates for people who had graduated from the chamber's business seminars, he added.
Gonzalez said the response to opening the chamber's High Street office has been "awesome."
"I've been shocked with the amount of responses and inquiries," he said.
He said the need for business support training has come from both established businesses in the city as well as people thinking of starting up a business.
He said that established businesses need services such as certified public accountants to grow. He added that businesses were also looking for fianncial training so they could go from renting a property to owning a building.
Gonzalez said that walking through downtown Holyoke or Springfield one can see the impact of growing Latino businesses.