PHOTOS: Local Leaders Tour Haverhill-Based Latino Businesses; Hear Wins, Causes of Concern

Congresswoman Lori Trahan (right) met with local business owner Gary Ortiz in Haverhill on Aug. 30, 2019. (WHAV News photograph)

Several local and congressional leaders teamed with the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce last week in an effort to shine a spotlight on Latino and Latina-owned small businesses in Haverhill, touring seven locations to chat with proprietors about their experiences working in town.

Joining Mayor James J. Fiorentini, Congresswoman Lori Trahan, Sen. Diana DiZoglio and State Rep. Andy Vargas was Chamber President and CEO Dougan Sherwood, who collaborated with Vargas on the idea in the hopes of diversifying the Chamber’s membership.

In addition to Pollo Centro and The Compound gym, the group stopped by Railroad Square’s Salon Mii, where Trahan bonded with owner Marysol Cueto over their shared appreciation for vocational training. Representatives from the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission and Haverhill Latino Coalition looked on as Cueto said she felt “proud” to situate her second salon in the city’s downtown district.

A few blocks away on Locust Street, Jacqueline Bodega co-owner Argenis Marte bent Fiorentini’s ear about the parking woes his family business faces as people from across the Merrimack Valley come to the bodega for the staple fried chicken, among other food items. “We’re crucial to the Latin community here in Haverhill and are bringing other people in the area together,” Marte told Fiorentini as he asked for improvements to the sidewalk outside the 13-year-old shop.

During the group’s stop at his Washington Square business, GO TAX Accounting’s Gary Ortiz applauded the city’s efforts to cater to the Latino small businesses by hiring Spanish-speaking employees to staff the 311 helpline and work in the Inspectional Services department. Still, more can be done, he said. Parking was one issue raised by Ortiz, who will soon relocate his office to 246 Winter St. Ortiz encouraged Fiorentini to consider an incentive program that would link up Haverhill businesses with one another for contracting and other improvement projects, for example.


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