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Business and Economy

KUNR Event In Spanish: The State Of Small Businesses During The Pandemic

A grahic featuring the headshots of the three guest speakers. The image is titled "Nevada Businesses and the Pandemic: Facebook Live Q&A in Spanish"
KUNR held its third community engagement event in Spanish on December 16 about the current state of small businesses in Nevada.

Lee en español.

With Nevada small businesses working to stay open in 2021 amid the pandemic, KUNR recently hosted a Facebook Live event in Spanish with business owners and advisors. They answered community questions and shared resources for small business owners in both Northern and Southern Nevada. 

Our bilingual reporter Natalie Van Hoozer moderated the Q&A and spoke with KUNR’s Jayden Perez to break down some highlights from the discussion. 

Jayden Perez: Natalie, this was KUNR’s third Facebook Live engagement event in Spanish. For our listeners who weren’t able to attend or don’t speak Spanish, what was it about? 

Natalie Van Hoozer: We had a conversation in Spanish about the situation for small businesses in Nevada during the pandemic. Two business advisors joined me to share their experiences working with small businesses. We were also joined by Eduardo Gomez, the co-owner of Cielito Lindo Taquería in Reno, who spoke to what it’s like running a restaurant right now. We also took community questions from a Google Form beforehand as well as live questions during the event.

Perez: Let’s start with the business advisors, tell me more. What kind of services do they provide to the community?

Van Hoozer: Sandra Rentas and Anabel Navarro are business advisors with the Nevada Small Business Development Center, a nationwide nonprofit that provides free guidance to small business owners, from creating a business plan to applying for a loan. Navarro is in Las Vegas while Rentas is in Reno.

[Original quote in Spanish]

“Hemos trabajado sesenta, ochenta horas a la semana tratando de ayudar a nuestra comunidad. Así que hemos trabajado el doble de lo que trabajamos muchos años atrás”, explicó Rentas.

Rentas said that with the pandemic and economic crisis this year, they have been working 60 to 80 hours a week, double the hours they did prior to the pandemic, so they can keep up with the constantly changing information about how business owners can stay open during the pandemic.  

Perez: What are they hearing from the business owners they work with?

Van Hoozer: Both Rentas and Navarro said there has been considerable confusion for many of the business owners they work with, as far as what protocol to follow and when and how to apply for emergency assistance. That confusion is even greater in the Spanish-speaking community.

Here’s what Navarro had to say: 

[Original quote in Spanish]

“Durante esta pandemia, hemos ido como el botón de emergencia. Hemos ayudado a las personas a que puedan informarse. Sobre todo nuestra comunidad latina, que cuando los enlaces están todos en inglés en internet, a ellos muchas veces se les complica descifrar la información”, dijo Navarro. 

She’s saying that she and Sandra Rentas, as Spanish speakers in their office, have been like a lifeline for their clients, helping them get information about business updates and grants that have a lot of technical language. 

Perez: What about your other guest, Eduardo Gomez, how has his business adapted with the pandemic? 

Van Hoozer: Cielito Lindo Taquería is a Mexican restaurant in north Reno that Eduardo Gómez opened with his father at the very end of 2019. They were just getting into the swing of things as a sit-down restaurant when the pandemic hit, which forced them to quickly shift their business model. 

[Original quote in Spanish]

“Siempre teníamos el goal de llegar a hacer un restaurante “to go” o “fast-casual”. Los cambios, siempre los teníamos en mente, y la pandemia nos apresuró para hacer estos cambios más rápido”, expuso Gómez.

The restaurant had a goal of being “fast-casual”, more of a takeout style, but the pandemic forced them to make that happen much sooner than anticipated. 

He increased his restaurant’s presence on social media as well, making sure people could see updates to the menu and that the restaurant was still open, as well as provide customer feedback. 

Gomez also said that he thinks being a young, bilingual and social-media savvy business owner is helping his store stay afloat right now. 

Perez: What are some resources available to small business owners right now? 

Van Hoozer: The Nevada Small Business Development Center’s website has information and training in Spanish. The organization also has the “Shop Made In Nevada” website, which is a free, online store registered business owners can use to sell their products. 

Gómez also mentioned that websites like the U.S. Small Business Administration, as well as information on city and county websites, has been helpful to him.  

The whole Q&A panel in Spanish and additional resources are available in the video on KUNR Public Radio’s Facebook page, and we hope to continue with these Facebook Live events in Spanish in 2021. 

KUNR’s Spanish engagement work is supported by the Facebook Journalism Project and This Is Reno, with production assistance from Noticiero Móvil.

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