Friday, July 3, 2009

Baltimore misses the Hispanic mark[et]

On a stroll around Highlandtown, you might just get the feeling of having stepped into a different country: a country where the signs in store windows say “abierto” instead of “open”, where the scent of achiote and cilantro seems to call your name from the nearby restaurants, where the liveliest conversations are carried in Spanish. It’s a fact: Hispanics, the latest in a stream of immigrants dating back to the 1730s, have come to find a safe harbor in the city of Baltimore. Unlike other states, where the growing Latino community is generally viewed as a menace, this city has proven to be an ideal place for Latinos to exchange their daily sweat for a decent, peaceful living: a tight-knit community where the windows are always open, the tortillas are always warm and the breeze ululates to the beat of bachata and quebradita music.

According to Census statistics, Hispanics are the second largest minority in Maryland, representing about 6.3% of the population... and these numbers are expected to have a least doubled by 2010. All of which begs the question: How is it possible that, of the 100+ ad and marketing services agencies in the area, there's barely any offering to target this booming market?

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