Innovative PopTiendas Initiative to Revitalize Small Businesses in Puerto Rico
May 23, 2018 (Bayamón, Puerto Rico) – Today in Puerto Rico, Hispanic Federation, in partnership with The Coca-Cola Company and the Prudential Financial, Inc., launched an innovative "PopTiendas" program for small businesses that were destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Maria. This revitalization initiative is made possible through Hispanic Federation’s UNIDOS Disaster Relief and Recovery Program, which to date has received more than 190,000 donations in support of Puerto Rico.
"Thanks to the generosity of The Coca-Cola Company and Prudential, one million dollars will be dedicated to the PopTiendas initiative to grant up to 40 sustainable, eco-friendly structures to eligible small businesses, entrepreneurs and nonprofits on the island, helping renew or open retail or service establishments and bringing businesses back online,” said Frankie Miranda, Senior Vice President of Hispanic Federation.
The PopTiendas are specially modified, weather-resistant steel containers and many will be equipped with solar panels, rainwater collection systems and potable water storage, cold drink equipment, generators, and food service equipment. The PopTiendas are available in various sizes, ranging from small to large: Mini (8’x8’), Kiosko (8’X10), Colmado (8’X20’) and Colmado Mediamente (8’X40’). Each POPTienda can be customized based on the business plan of the grantee.
“Coca-Cola is proud to partner with Hispanic Federation and Prudential to provide an innovative model for retail establishments and an opportunity for business owners, entrepreneurs and non-profits to strengthen local economies, at an affordable cost,” said Andy Buckingham, General Manager for The Coca-Cola Company in Puerto Rico.
“Prudential’s support of the PopTiendas is an example of our commitment to help Puerto Ricans rebuild their livelihoods in a sustainable way,” said René Deida, Director of Corporate and Community Engagement at Prudential. “Our partnership with Hispanic Federation and Coca-Cola is part of Prudential’s strategic approach to disaster relief, which extends beyond immediate relief to help impacted communities recover, mitigate future risks and support individuals as they look to rebuild their financial security.”
Small businesses are vital for the millions of Puerto Rican workers, customers and communities who depend on them. By some estimates, two thirds of Puerto Rico’s 45,000 small and mid-sized businesses temporarily closed after Hurricane Maria hit. Thousands were projected to never reopen. With small and mid-sized businesses representing 90% of the island’s workforce, the PopTiendas initiative will play a role in restoring and strengthening this sector.
"We thank Hispanic Federation, The Coca-Cola Company and Prudential for selecting the city of Bayamón to launch PopTiendas,” said Mayor Ramón Luis Rivera. “This project will benefit entrepreneurs, who will have the opportunity to develop new businesses. Senator Carmelo Ríos and these entrepreneurs join the redevelopment of the urban center, where we have also been integrating new culinary offerings. The Municipality of Bayamón will always welcome and promote initiatives like PopTiendas that promote economic development and job creation in our city.”
Puerto Rico’s Senate Majority Leader and President of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators. Carmelo Ríos, emphasized the importance of this initiative and thanked Hispanic Federation and The Coca-Cola Company for allowing him to serve as a liaison in a project of this magnitude.
"Given the challenges we face in recovering from the onslaught left by Hurricane Maria, we see in this project the hope of a new beginning for hundreds of merchants, families and young people, among others, who will be able to see the dream of having their own business come true,” said Senator Carmelo Rios. “This is a unique opportunity that I am sure will be a crucial instrument for the development of our economy.”
"We thank Senator Carmelo Ríos for making us part of this initiative that will benefit our small businesses," said Representative Rafael "Tatito" Hernández Montañez. “In such difficult times, and after Hurricane Maria, it is essential to provide the necessary tools to our small business owners so that they can move forward and generate sustainable economic development for our country.”
Interested applicants are encouraged to visit hispanicfederationunidos.org/poptiendas for information on how to apply.