How Southwest Detroit businesses are planning for a safe Cinco de Mayo celebration

(WXYZ) – There are roughly 1,700 small businesses in southwest Detroit alone, and May is one of the busiest months for Mexicantown, also because of the Cindo de Mayo celebrations, which will be different this year.

Related: Here is a list of Cinco de Mayo Specials & Deals from companies in Southwest Detroit

“It would get really crowded everywhere on the main Cinco. Every restaurant, every food truck you saw lines in,” said Nancy Diaz-Lopez, owner of Los Altos.

However, last year she said her restaurants and food trucks in Mexicantown on Cinco de Mayo are a bit quiet.

It reflects the drastic changes companies have made in more than a year due to the pandemic and government-imposed capacity limits. Los Altos depended on implementation for months.

Even so, their facilities are part of the lucky group that managed to survive in southwest Detroit.

“To be honest, if it weren’t for our employees, none of us would be there,” she said.

“This is another fight that we will one day defeat,” added Gloria Rosas, co-owner of Xochi’s gift shop.

Gloria and her daughter own the shop, which is full of authentic Mexican goods. It was closed for a short time last year.

Since opening in 1985, the family has said they have never experienced this type of disruption in business or at the annual parade.

“People come out. They decorate their cars. The children dance. There are schools that have their brass bands playing,” she said. “So it’s just something that really brings our community together.”

Both say they have learned to adapt over time, run more promotions on social media and online, and reach out to customers to let them know that they are open to roadside pickup.

“They’re as creative as possible. As always, they’re finding a way to survive,” said Theresa Zajac, interim president of the Southwest Detroit Business Association.

According to Zajac, a number of grants have helped companies keep their doors open over the past year and made it to another Cinco de Mayo that is being rigged as much of the celebration will be virtual.

“I think restaurants will still get the customer surge they had in the past. Not to the same extent because they can’t 100%, but a lot of people will come out. In fact, they probably started already on Sunday,” said Zajac.

The Cino de Mayo parade and celebrations, which were broadcast live on Sunday, will be retransmitted to One Detroit on Wednesday at 6 p.m.


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