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Latino State News

New Little Village Chamber of Commerce Sees Challenges, Remain Optimistic

Four months ago, the entire Little Village Chamber of Commerce staff walked out, but these days, the new three-person team is exciting about their new ideas thought they acknowledge that tough road that lays before them.

The walk-out was reportedly caused by an argument between the president of the board and executive director.

“I have so much to learn,” said new Executive Director Nilda Esparza. “That’s a bit of a challenge, [and] there’s a lot fo work to be done here.”

Just days before last year’s Mexican Independence Day parade, for which the area is known, the entire chamber staff walked out.

“The parade was on September 12th and I started on the 7th,” said Esparza, who accepted when the position was quickly offered to her on a trial basis. Along with help, she pulled it off. “On the seventh, we had 17 floats in position and manged to position 81 by that Sunday. I still don’t know how we did it.”

“It [the change in staff] has been a blessing, a change,” said the owner of the Catedral Café, and parade committee member, Abraham Duenas. With the old staff, he said the creativity and leadership just wasn’t there.

“It was the same thing every year.”

Over the next 12 months, Esparza and the Chamber staff hope to have more business seminars to offer, and increase their staff.

While 30 to 40 percent of the stores in Little Village have closed over the last few years, Esparza has stayed confident.