The growth in the number of Hispanic-owned businesses in South Dakota outpaced the rest of the nation from 2002-2007, with about a third of them in the Sioux Falls metro area, according to numbers released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Over this period of five years, the state saw an increase of 68 percent compared to a 44 percent climb across the country.
The revenue generated by these businesses in the state also more than doubled from 2002 to 2007, with the businesses reporting $317 million in revenue in 2007.
“I’m definitely aware there’s an increase of Hispanic-owned businesses because we see a more diverse population,” David Owen, president of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said.
Hispanic-owned businesses still make up only a fraction of businesses in the state. Only 595 out of 77, 134 businesses are Hispanic-owned. Only Vermont and North Dakota have fewer Hispanic businesses, putting South Dakota as the third-lowest in the nation.
In 2009, Hispanics made up 3 percent of South Dakota’s population, an increase from 1.4 percent in 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The president of the Spanish Speaking Community Association of Sioux Falls, Juan Bonilla, said he sees the biggest growth of Hispanic-owned businesses in Sioux Falls in industries such as restaurants, small grocery stores and tax preparation businesses.
“It’s growing every year, especially in the east part of Sioux Falls,” he said.
Everilda VanLoh opened her own restaurant, Jacky’s Restaurant and Bakery with her husband two years ago.
“It has its high and lows like all restaurants. It’s been good,” she said through an interpreter.