Every family has that one store they depend on to get their everyday needs for the every day house, whether that store is a grocery market, candy store, bakery, restaurant or even a repair shop. Most of those small stores are usually owned by minorities and have been ran through their family for years or even generations. In this issue we take a look at some Mexican American owners of those same stores that have provided service for the everyday familes. Let’s face it, many small business owners in the suburbs are primarily hispanic and it isn’t just a coincident, their success lands themselves more than just an average entrepreneur status. They come from all over and we buy from them because to us, they are the best and no one else can possibly compare. Even with the economy in a rough state, those small businesses are still handling themselves pretty well and some are even expanding to bigger and better things. Some of those in that category are Northwest Indiana’s and East Chicago’s Mexican migrated companies known as Tortilla Neuvo Leon and El Popular.
Located in the Southeast side of Chicago, Illinois on the busy street of Commercial Avenue lies Armando’s Tire Shop. Just passing its 25th year in business, Armando’s Tire Shop continues to serve and maintenance many happy local and outside customers. The Mexican owner and his wife Carmen Prieto have made a basic business into a professional well-served to fully satisfying repair and tire shop. Armando Prieto, a native of Mexico City came to the United States to live a better life and seek for opportunity for work and raise a family. Armando did just that, building his shop from the ground up and having his own family. “You can say it is a very tight family business, my wife, my children, and I all put in great hours to assure great service to our customers and ourselves.” Amongst those working at the shop are his son Rafael and his daughter Alma.
At the age of 22 Rafael has completed his necessary college classes to receive his associates in automotive and plans to go back for his bachelor’s so he can help expand the business to a whole another level. Rafael has been his family’s main helper when it comes to the shop, he runs the business when the family goes out of town and contributes to each customer by treating each one with full attention they need. Having 15 years dedicated to his father’s business, it is a no brainer that Rafael puts in his 8 to 10 hours everyday before he can punch out. “I usually try my best to stick around and see if there is anything for me to do before I leave or go out, with the business getting older as well as my parents, I want them to know that I can run a business like this and have full capability of maintaining a business of my own one day.” Rafael is also a United States Marine to add to some of his responsibilities. The 22 year old Chicago native, speaks both Spanish and English fluently thus helping his parents tremendously.
With the Southeast side being filled with numerous of small businesses including other competing tire shops, Armando’s Shop does its best to separate itself from other similar shops and they do that by being themselves. “We are open to anyone, and we are always on top of things, rarely do we ever have a problem with a client and because of that the word spreads and more and more people want to come check us out. We are very welcoming to any people, and with the race out here being 80% African American, most of our clients are black. We even get business from outsiders that travel as far as Evanston.”
“There are many Latino businesses out now, and we have our ancestors to thank for that, they were the ones who put up with the hard times, the racism, and nonsense that went around during the early days of developing entrepreneurs. It wasn’t easy nor it is today. If we stick together and work together we can survive anything. Different races love the way us Mexicans work and therefore they come back each time. We have such a unique method of selling and advertising that people just love the way we work.”
If you would like to schedule an appointment with
Armando’s Tire Shop, you can call them at 773.768.0927
They are located at 8472 S. Commerical Ave. Chicago, Illinois 60617.