The Southeast Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce now has a representative in Graham County.

Ed Lopez finished his training two weeks ago and is now a business development representative for the chamber, which has 1,200 members. Although he doesn’t have an office in town, yet, he can assist business owners join the chamber and connect with other businesses outside the county, state and country.

Lopez is a longtime volunteer with the Safford Lions Club and a Graham County Chamber of Commerce member. He joined the Southeast Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hoping to open the doors for local advertisers to the Hispanic community.

“The thing I’ve learned to tell people is ‘If you’re tired of fishing in the pond, we’ll help you fish in the ocean,’” Lopez said.

Sales connections can be made and new relationships can be established through the chamber, Lopez said. Joining the chamber will give local businesses the chance to become part of a state-wide and international partnership, Lopez said.

The chamber also assists local business owners market to the Hispanic population. Placing a sign reading, “Sí, hablamos español” in the front door of any business will bring in more Hispanic customers.

“You don’t need to be a Hispanic business owner or speak Spanish to join the chamber,” Lopez said. “We can help you with translation if needed.”

In Arizona, the Hispanic purchasing power was estimated at $46 billion as of March of 2020.

The Hispanic population is estimated to be 31.6% statewide, but according to the chamber, the majority of Arizonans will be Hispanic by 2030.

Mexican visitors spend roughly $7.3 million each day in Arizona, leaving an impact of $2.3 billion dollars annually.

The Graham County Chamber of Commerce is a member of the Southeast Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Graham County Chamber Executive Director Vance Bryce has been attending meetings with Lopez since May 2019.

“We totally encourage our business owners to get those benefits because they have some fun things going on. Those meetings were really fun because we were able to see what Tombstone was doing, Sierra Vista, Willcox, everyone,” Bryce said. “We’re able to learn regionally what’s going on.”

Lopez said he hopes to rent out an office when more new members sign up for the Southeast Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

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