As Nashville continues to grow, so does its Latino community

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) – Ruth Rico is no stranger to adversity. She left Colombia 18 years ago. “I have come for a better future for my sons,” she said in Spanish.

But a passion for cooking and an itch for entrepreneurship led her to start her own business. What started out as a simple business selling homemade Colombian food in her kitchen has now grown into her food truck business called Delicias Colombiana RR. She’s on the road with her food truck five days a week, selling all over Nashville and cooking in a commercial kitchen.

“We see Latinos moving from all over the United States – particularly from California, Texas, the East Coast and of course the Midwest – to the Chicago area in particular,” said Luis Parodi, former president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of the Nashville area. .

He said the latest census data showed an increase in the number of Hispanic residents of Davidson County from 10% in 2010 to 14% in 2020, but he notes that that number could realistically reach 20% when factoring in those. who are not yet US citizens.

“It was explosive,” Parodi said. “I think the fact that we have a diverse economy here in hospitality, healthcare, construction, that’s for sure.”

Even so, Latin American businesses, like others, are feeling the effects of COVID with lost revenue and staff shortages.

“Just recently with Bonnaroo we rented two spaces,” said Rico who lost significant sales after the festival was canceled. She was left with thousands of empanadas and areeps and no festivals to sell them, after a year of other canceled events.

“She was hit very hard during the COVID period,” Parodi said. “Many concerts and events have been canceled, but she has been able to show flexibility and manage these conditions and this resilience that the Latin American community brings, that is what many employers and managers are looking for.”

Rico said: “I have been presented with many obstacles, but I never back down.”

She said her story is proof that despite life’s obstacles, success is possible for those who move forward, as she did, pursuing her American dream.


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