"They Speak Our Language…Business": Latinx Businesspeople and the Pursuit of Wealth in New York City

Columbia University Press
Publication by Professor Destin Jenkins

Histories of Racial Capitalism, Chapter 9

In April 1982, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico published an advertisement in the New York Times showing Johnny Torres, the owner of Metro Spanish Food Wholesalers (Metro) in the South Bronx. Cross-armed, in formal attire, and in front of his products, Torres mused, “In 1966, we saw an opportunity to create a wholesale food distribu-tion cooperative to supply the many small grocery stores that serve New York’s Hispanic community.” He added, “[Banco Popular] listened and provided us with funds for a 1,000-square-foot warehouse and inventory. They kept on listening as we grew to 5,000, 7,500, 15,000, 25,000, and finally 40,000 square feet today.”


Pedro A. Regalado researches the history of race, Latinx immigration, and capitalism in American cities. His forthcoming book examines the history of twentieth century New York through the lens of Latinx workers in the city’s rapidly evolving industries, recuperating Latinx residents as active agents in the remaking of the city’s economy and landscape.