SACRAMENTO, Calif. — For Hispanic Heritage Month celebrated from September 15 to October 15, ABC10 is highlighting the South Sacramento area, specifically the Franklin Boulevard Business District.
The district is made up of around 600 businesses, primarily owned by either Hispanic or Hmong families.
"Mango, pineapple and jicama, it's cut in small pieces, we add orange juice, chili powder and cheese," Ivan Ortiz, co-owner of Gaspachos said.
That's what the specialty dish called Gaspachos is.
"We wanted to bring something unique, something that you cannot really find in California," Ortiz said.
32-year-old Ivan Ortiz immigrated here from Morelia, Mexico with his family when he was only 15.
"It was a dream to have my own business and build it and create our own brand," Ortiz said.
With his eyes set on someday bringing the flavor of his hometown, to California.
"It goes beyond just owning the store, we take a lot of pride on sharing, seeing what is a gaspachos and taking it to the people," he said.
His family-run business is only one of around 600 that make up what's called the Franklin Boulevard Business District.
"Historically we were sort of considered a port of entry for Latino immigrants here in Sacramento," Kendra Macias Reed, Deputy Director of the Franklin Boulevard Business District said.
Reed says it's a property and business improvement district, originally formed back in the 1980's, made up of just about every business you can think of, from health services, supermarkets, restaurants, car shops, hair salons and so much more.
"When you visit our district, even if it's one business, you're supporting our district but you're also supporting the Latino culture and their success," she said.
But Reed says, the pandemic has taken a toll on their businesses.
"One of the biggest challenges probably is not having people inside of the store and not having that physical interaction with customers," Ortiz said. "It has slowed down drastically."
Still, Ortiz has managed to keep the lights on and the doors open. His secret? The relationships he's built with customers.
"They continue to buy our products, which we're very grateful for, they continue to always ask us how can they help and they continue to buy online," he said.
Moving forward, Reed is encouraging everyone to get know some of the business owners like Ortiz living out his dreams and taste the flavor of where they came from.
"They desperately need our support right now to survive this pandemic," Reed said.