The Hispanic Business Association has merged with the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce in an effort to increase benefits and collaboration between association members and the chamber, the chamber said in a press release Monday.
“Partnering with the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce is the logical next step,” Sue Hubbard of Farmers Insurance in Atascadero said in the release, who is one of the founders of the Hispanic Business Association. “This merger will provide the Hispanic Business Association members greater benefits and an opportunity for the chamber to expand its role in this underserved segment of the business community.”
This merger does not dissolve the HBA. Rather, the HBA will operate as a separate program under the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce umbrella, Atascadero Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Josh Cross told KSBY on Tuesday.
“We are thrilled to officially partner with the Hispanic Business Association,” Cross said in the release. “We value Hispanic businesses and want to remove any barriers that might exist on their journey to 100% success. We look forward to learning from them as well.”
One of the benefits includes free websites, if needed, for businesses now merging with the chamber, Cross said, adding that the chamber plans on being a resource for the entire Central Coast Hispanic community, not just those in Atascadero or North County.
The chamber recently hired three bilingual staff members, two of which are funded by regional grants, the press release said.
The Hispanic Business Association (HBA) was created in 2012 when Hubbard of Farmers Insurance recognized a need for collaboration between Hispanic businesswomen, the release said.
“Before the Covid-19 pandemic, we had 100 members,” Maria Elena Garcia, former president of the Hispanic Business Association, said. “About 20% of residents in Atascadero and 36% in Paso Robles are Hispanic. San Miguel is also growing so we want to help North County businesses by doing outreach, finding out owners’ needs such as human resources and bookkeeping, and bringing those needs to the Atascadero Chamber board of directors to brainstorm solutions.”
The Atascadero Chamber of Commerce exists to be the “[c]atalyst for business growth, the [c]onvener for leaders and influencers, and the [c]hampion for a stronger Atascadero community,” according to their website.