Columbia, SC (WLTX)- While the rest of the country has seen the growth of Latinos slow down, the Carolinas is experiencing a big increase ,according to a recent study.
For some in the Midlands, it's become a tremendous untapped business opportunity.
Efrain Sanchez has been in South Carolina for 17 years. He now owns his own business, and just recently he started putting on Jaripeos or Mexican Rodeos in Gaston.
More than 800 people came to the first one, and by the third event a few months later, 1,300 people showed up. He says the demand is definitely there.
"There's more and more Latinos and Hispanic products in stores," says Sanchez. The Pew Research Center reports Latinos moving to the South to pursue job opportunities in agriculture and manufacturing.
Sanchez says he started seeing a big growth of Latinos in 2004 when people were moving here for construction jobs.
The same report from the Pew Research Center says places in the South that had relatively small Latino populations are the ones that have seen the biggest growth.
Pedro Gonzalez sees that as a big business opportunity. He opened Moctezuma Taqueria on Columbia's Beltine Boulevard this month.
Gonzalez says the Latino community's word of mouth has been his best marketing tool, "a lot of friends come here and say, nobody knows you opened so they communicate with each other about it."