Directory connects businesses, Latinos
Special to the Post Independent
Even the most fluent bilingual speakers still count in their heads in their native tongue.
When it comes to reading and looking up information, a first language is usually the first choice.
That is why entrepreneurs Julian and Deborah Hardaker of Carbondale and Luis and Sanya Polar of Glenwood Springs are working to make things easier for the valley’s large Spanish-speaking population by introducing Paginas Comunitarias.
The “community pages” will be a Spanish-language business directory and community resource guide with everything from company listings to government and nonprofit agencies. Thousands of the guides will be distributed next spring from Aspen to Avon to Parachute.
Julian Hardaker said although many organizations are providing materials in Spanish, the information has not been combined into a guide for the Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties area.
“The idea came to me as something that was an unmet need,” Hardaker said. “Primarily, it came with working with Latinos in a business setting and seeing how valuable it is to be able to communicate with them in their language even if they have a fluency in English.”
Hardaker said that since Latinos make up approximately 30 percent of the local population, the Spanish speakers also “represent a huge and often untapped buying power.”
A native of England, Hardaker, 33, knows a bit about assimilating into another culture. He first came to the valley as the foreign language chair at Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale.
A part-time real estate and insurance agent, Hardaker is working to develop his directory business with a conscience. Business owners who advertise in Paginas Comunitarias will be able to designate their listing with a heart symbol as a donor to the local nonprofit Healthy Beginnings, which works a lot with the Latino community.
Community-oriented information will be printed free in the resource guide.
In working to develop a feasible yet beneficial enterprise, Hardaker turned to the local Small Business Development Center at Colorado Mountain College for business counseling.
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Imagine Glenwood and The City of Glenwood Springs is slated to host a virtual town hall at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 11.