CENTRAL ILLINOIS, Ill. (WMBD) — Big business is in sight for Central Illinois’ Latinx community. The region is seeing an increase in the growing number of Hispanic businesses opening up.
Leaders in Peoria’s Hispanic community said more than 10 businesses have either opened, relocated to the area, or announced plans to open in just the past three months. They said seeing more business growth in the area is tied to their culture of “persistence.”
Miranda’s Bella Boutique is just one of the recently established businesses in Peoria. The shop, which opened up just a few weeks ago, is located at 3113 N. Prospect Road and is what its owner, Maria Miranda, calls a hidden gem.
Miranda said the boutique rings true to her Mexican roots.
“Everybody knows me, the pride that I have of my Mexican culture,” Miranda said. “So yes, it has to be screaming Mexican culture all over.”
The boutique accomplishes just that. It exhibits everything from Mexican pottery, to religious ceramic, dresses, suits, accessories, candles, and more.
“They [customers] can find all of the religious things that we use for our parties, for the baptisms and the first communions, quinceañeras, and weddings,” Miranda said. “I decided to open it because there’s nothing close here in Peoria that sells what I’m selling. So people would have to drive or order it online and wait for it to come.”
Although the boutique recently opened on North Prospect, Miranda said it actually isn’t a new business. She said for the past 17 years she’s been selling her items from home, but when her basement started to get too crowded, she decided to expand.
It’s a move she said she’s overjoyed to have made considering the area’s growing Latinx community.
“The Hispanic population is growing so it’s very much needed here in Peoria,” Miranda said.
The rise in Hispanic businesses also extends beyond Peoria. If one takes a trip to 2401 N. Main Street over in East Peoria they’ll run into Rising Tide Battery Station.
The shop opened last month and offers electronics, equipment for paintball, camping, and fishing, as well as other lifestyle items. It also serves as a battery station.
Rogelio Reteguin, the owner, said he decided to open the shop after hearing that people in the area were asking for a store that would sell similar items.
“There weren’t any paintball stores around here,” Reteguin said. “So, we decided to open one so the people could enjoy it.”
Reteguin, who’s originally from Michoacán, Mexico, also said he believed there were more opportunities for success in the Central Illinois area than the bigger cities.
“I was planning on opening in Chicago, but the best thing to do was open here in Peoria,” Reteguin said. “They’ve truly received me well.”
Christell Frausto, president of the Greater Peoria Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said she agrees that more doors are opening for the Hispanic population in the area and she said there’s still more to come.
“We’re going to be able to bring more to the community whether it’s a celebration of our culture, whether it’s things for lifestyle, celebration, nightclubs, places to dance, more restaurants, we’re going to bring more flavor,” Frausto said.
Frausto said the chamber is going to continue working to prepare those who are interested in owning their opening business with the tools to follow through.
Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau also showed the country is diversifying and the Hispanic population now makes up 18.7% of the country’s population.