Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina Strong Growth in First Half of 2009

Rapidly Growing Fresh-Mex Franchise Opens Four New Restaurants; Signs Agreements for 28 New Locations with Goal of 200 Restaurants by 2012

Salsarita's Fresh Cantina, one of the nation's fastest growing, fast-casual Mexican restaurant chains

Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina, one of the nation’s fastest growing, fast-casual Mexican restaurant chains

CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 22 /PRNewswire/ –Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina, one of the nation’s fastest growing, fast-casual Mexican restaurant chains has experienced great success in 2009 with the opening of four new restaurants and signed agreements for 28 more locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The company is currently closing in on its first hundred restaurants with the goal of opening 200 restaurants by 2012.

With new locations opening across the country, the company is quickly gaining brand recognition and a reputation for quality and legendary hospitality. Despite the economic downturn, Salsarita’s has announced that Minneapolis,Jacksonville, Detroit, Raleigh-Durham, Birmingham, Nashville, Upstate New York and Baltimore will be key markets for its 2009 expansion plans.

“We are very excited about the progress we’ve made in the first half of 2009 and are looking to expand our high-quality, Fresh-Mexican concept to new and existing markets across the country,” said Paul Mangiamele, president and CEO, Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina. “With successful penetration in select southern and northeastern markets, Salsarita’s is setting its sights on building a nationally competitive franchise brand.”

Most recently, Salsarita’s opened two restaurants in Charlotte, NC and single units in Murfreesboro and Knoxville, TN.A 20 unit store development agreement was signed in the Upstate New York region and agreements with franchisees have been signed in Clarence, NY, Overland Park, KS, Greenville, NC and Puerto Rico.

Salsarita’s is currently looking for qualified candidates with food service, operations or real estate experience to join its team as area representatives, area developers or single-unit franchisees. The estimated initial investment is between$296,700 and $577,100 depending on the real estate selection ranging from 2,200 to 2,700 square-feet, which is inclusive of the $25,000 franchise fee. The company’s comprehensive training and support program includes a three-week Burrito Boot Camp at the corporate headquarters, pre- and post-grand opening on-site support and ongoing business coaching.

“With more customers visiting fast-casual concepts instead of traditional full-service, sit-down restaurants, Salsarita’s is well positioned to succeed during this time of economic uncertainty,” said Mangiamele. “Fresh-Mexican is an up and coming concept and Salsarita’s fills this growing niche in the franchise industry.”

Salsarita’s specializes in serving made-to-order burritos, tacos, tortilla, pizza’s and taco salads. Prepared fresh-daily in each restaurant, guests can enjoy high-quality dishes featuring ground beef, grilled chicken, grilled steak, or pork, grilled shrimp and fresh vegetables. Salsarita’s also offers a choice of 13 delicious fillings and four homemade salsas. Every order is prepared in full view of customers in a 700-square-foot display kitchen with a contemporary Hispanic motif.
Source: Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina

MillerCoors pact to serve Hispanics

MillerCoors pledged Friday to increase economic opportunities for Hispanics through an agreement with the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility.

Through the joint agreement, MillerCoors and the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility promise to increase and enhance economic opportunities for Hispanics through increased participation in key corporate initiatives such as leadership and work force development, procurement and supplier diversity, marketing and advertising, and community contributions.

“Growing and leveraging diversity will provide MillerCoors with a competitive advantage that will not only strengthen our business, but also strengthen the Hispanic community,” said Leo Kiely, MillerCoors CEO. “Through this agreement we will be able to use our collective power to achieve an important goal for both our organizations, to have Hispanics participating at greater levels in our business.”

The new five-year agreement is the first since MillerCoors was created in July 2008. Coors was a founding corporate member of HACR and has maintained an agreement since 1986.

“It is gratifying to see that MillerCoors recognizes the growing influence of Latinos in the marketplace, workplace and social mainstream, said HACR president and CEO Carlos Orta.

MillerCoors is a joint venture of Denver-based Molson Coors Brewing Co. and SABMiller PLC that combines the two international beer companies’ U.S. brewing operations.

Source: Denver Business Journal

The Proposal with Bullock and Reynolds Depicts Real Life

Majority of U.S. Singles Would Have Green Card Wedding; High Percentage of Single Online Daters Would Marry Foreign Strangers for Cash

Hispanics Polled on Love

Hispanics Polled on Love

MIAMI BEACH, Fla., June 28 /PRNewswire/ — In The Proposal, last week’s #1 movie in America, Sandra Bullock is a Canadian in need of a Green Card, and so she gets engaged to her American assistant, played by Ryan Reynolds. Are Green Card marriages really that prevalent in today’s day and age? Last month, leading online dating websites (, (, and (, polled their members to see if they would walk down the aisle for reasons other than love.

The majority of U.S. male and female singles, ranging in ages from 18 – 55+, voted yes to a sham marriage so that a foreigner could remain in the Country; a high percentage said they would be willing to marry strangers for cash. Surprisingly, the majority of men would marry a complete stranger who they’ve only met via a blind date, while the majority of women would marry an ex-boyfriend.

“With so many Americans affected by the recession, we’re not surprised to see that many single online daters would be willing to trade the sanctity of marriage for money,” said Shira Zwebner, Relationship Advisor for, and”

In a new survey of thousands of online daters nationwide, we asked: Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds star in The Proposal, a movie about a US citizen engaged to his Canadian boss so she can stay in the Country and get her Green Card. Would you marry someone so they could stay in The United States?

Following are the complete results:
Men Women
Yes 58.8% 60.9%
No 29.4% 34.8%
We also asked: If you would be willing to have a Green Card marriage, who would you wed so that they could stay in the Country?

Following are the complete results:
Men Women
A blind date 29.6% 11.1%
An ex-boyfriend/girlfriend 14.8% 22.2%
My best friend’s relative 11.1% 20.6%
A stranger for cash 14.8% 16.7%
My boss 8.4% 10.3%
Gay friend’s lover 3.7% 1.0%
Source: Avalanche, LLC

ya es hora Campaign Calls for Complete Count of Latinos | 2010 Census

Campaign Calls for the Confirmation of Dr. Robert Groves to lead Census Bureau

ya es hora Campaign Calls for Complete Count of Latinos and Immigrants in the 2010 Census

LOS ANGELES, June 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — At a press conference today, the partners of the historic ya es hora !HAGASE CONTAR! (It’s Time, Make Yourself Count!) Campaign urged the Latino community to participate in the 2010 Census. In addition to announcing new partners, the campaign called for the confirmation of Robert Groves to head the U.S. Census Bureau, and condemned the efforts of a small group of organizations calling for a boycott of the enumeration as a strategy to achieve comprehensive immigration reform.

“The partners in the ya es hora !HAGASE CONTAR! Campaign are committed to ensuring a full count in the 2010 Census,” said Texas State Representative Rafael Anchia, Chairman of the NALEO Educational Fund. “This is only possible if we have the continued support of partner organizations across the country as well as leadership at the Census Bureau and the full support of everyone in the Latino community.”

“A full count of the Latino population will help Latinos build a better future for their families,” said Dr. Jesse Miranda, CEO of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC). “A full count is critical for the continued economic and political progress of the Latino community. An undercount of the Latino community will do serious damage to our families and our neighborhoods. By diminishing the representation of newcomers in our democracy, an undercount will also undermine efforts to achieve comprehensive immigration reform. Encouraging anyone not to participate in the Census is simply wrong.”

The U.S. Constitution requires a full count of all residents of the United States, including immigrants. Census statistics determine reapportionment and political representation, and are also used for allocating federal funding for many social and economic programs that benefit the Latino community and the entire country. Additionally, Census data are used for the enforcement of civil rights and anti-discrimination laws, including the Voting Rights Act.

The ya es hora, !HAGASE CONTAR! Campaign will focus on promoting the importance of the Census, educating individuals about filling out their Census forms and encouraging households to mail back their responses once they complete their forms. This phase of the coalition’s work builds on the success of the ya es hora !Ciudadania!Campaign of 2007, in which 1.4 million Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) applied for U.S. citizenship, and the success of the ya es hora !Ve y Vota! Campaign of 2008, in which a record 9.7 million Latinos exercised their right to vote in the presidential election.

The ya es hora !HAGASE CONTAR! Campaign is a coalition of national and local Latino organizations and Spanish-language media working to inform and motivate the nearly 50 million U.S. Latinos to fully participate in the 2010 Census. The campaign is lead by national partners, including the Dominican American National Roundtable, League of United Latin American Citizens, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, NALEO Educational Fund, National Council of La Raza, Service Employees International Union, and media companies EntravisionimpreMedia, and Univision, and includes organizational partners at the national, state, and local levels.

In recent weeks, a growing list of organizations have joined the campaign, including: Comunidad Presbiteriana HispanaEl Pozo de Jacob / The Jacob’s Well; Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU); The Hispanic Federation; Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA); Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI); Hispanic Mega Church Association; National Hispanic Pentecostal Congress; Jesse Miranda Center for Hispanic Leadership; Independent Sector; Latino Justice/Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Educational Fund; League of Women Voters USA; Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR); Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF); National Association of Evangelicals; National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP); National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA); National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC); National Latina Institute on Reproductive Health; National Puerto Rican Coalition, Inc. (NPRC); Colorado Immigrant Rights (CIRC); Consejo Nacional De Organizaciones Comunitarias(CBO); Connecticut Puerto Rican Forum Inc.; Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services Inc.; Los Angeles City College-Workforce Development; Los Angeles Southwest College-Bridges to Success; Pasadena City College-Community Education Center; S.O.S. Immigration International; The Idaho Community Action Network; International Institute; Unity For Dignity; Mexican American Opportunity Foundation; UFW Foundation; The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights; Latina Initiative; Intercambio de Comunidades; The Latin American Coalition; Tenants and Workers United; Hermandad Mexicana Nacional Oxnard; Hermandad Mexicana Nacional East Los Angeles; Hermandad Mexicana Nacional Fontana; Hermandad Mexicana Nacional Palmdale; Hermandad Mexicana Nacional Pacoima; LA Voice/PICO; Alliance for a Better Community; Mayor of Miami, Manny Diaz; Hispanic Unity, Miami; Organizacion Hondurena Integrada; Minnesota Council of Nonprofits; Contra Costa Faith Works!; Hispanic Women’s Organization ofArkansas; Mexican American Commission of Nebraska; Colombo Americans for Action.

About the ya es hora Campaign

The ya es hora campaign is the largest and most comprehensive non-partisan effort to incorporate Latinos as full participants in the American political process. The campaign had a dramatic impact on naturalization rates and spurred record Latino turnout in the 2008 presidential election.
Source: The Ya es Hora Campaign

Renter affordability worsens over the decade

The financial plight of the nation’s 34 million renters has deteriorated rapidly since the beginning of the decade, yet they are rarely included in conversations about housing affordability.

Renter affordability worsens over the decade

Renter affordability worsens over the decade

Half of all renters now spend at least 30 percent of their before-tax income on rent and utility payments, that’s up from about 40 percent in 2000, according to an analysis by the Associated Press. One in four shell out more than half of their income to cover those expenses, up from one in five.

And the AP’s analysis of census data through 2007, the latest available, doesn’t include the effects of the recession, which hammer renters harder than homeowners. Tough economic times also disproportionately affect minorities and the less educated — both groups are more likely to be financially burdened renters.

“In the next year or so, we’re going to see growing numbers of people who are literally homeless because they can’t afford their own home,” said Sheila Crowley, the president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The median rent, including utilities, rose 7 percent to $775 between 2000 and 2007. But the increase felt worse because renters saw their median income drop 7 percent to $29,000 during that time.

After paying the landlord, what’s left for severely cost-burdened renters is a scant amount for the other basics of living like food, health care and clothing. Forget luxuries like transportation, retirement accounts, let alone a down payment on a house.

“They sacrifice basic household stuff you and I take for granted like hygiene products and detergent. Money for laundry,” said Cicely Dove, the director family housing at Crossroads, an emergency housing shelter in Providence, R.I.

Government funding for renter assistance has been stagnant since 2000. At the same time, the number of affordable apartments has been shrinking and the cost of building new ones rarely pencils out.

During the past six years, about 3 million affordable apartments were destroyed, converted to for-sale condos or upgraded to higher-priced rental units, according to census data released this week.

The waiting lists for Housing Choice vouchers, formerly known as Section 8, are years long in many cities. The program currently serves 2 million families. Renters in this program put 30 percent of their income to rent and the voucher makes up the difference. As the economy worsens, voucher recipients are contributing less money. The program must make up the difference, which means reducing the number of new recipients, said Donna White, spokeswoman at the Housing and Urban Development Department. Fewer are moving onto self-sufficiency too, White said.

The federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit, which encourages developers to build affordable housing, has little funding because investors who buy these tax credits have disappeared, said Eric Belsky, executive director of Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

The National Housing Trust Fund created last July to increase the supply of affordable housing remains empty. Funds were supposed to come from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but the government seized control of the companies five weeks later and have so far pumped $85 billion into them to keep them afloat.

“The problems here are costly to address. We’re going to see it get worse and create more hardships with renters spending less on pensions, savings and health care,” Belsky said. “These things cost us down the road.”

Hints of hope, however, are emerging as the country moves away from the homeownership mantra and recasts its housing priorities. President Barack Obama’s recent budget includes $1 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund and another $1.6 billion for 200,000 new housing vouchers.

But housing experts say that is nowhere enough to make a dent in the problem:

Sixty percent of single parents and senior citizens who rent spend at least 30 percent of their income on housing costs, while a third pay at least half.

Blacks and Hispanics face similar challenges. The unemployment rates for blacks and Hispanics are both outpacing the national rate and 30 percent of black renters and 27 percent of Hispanic renters spend half or more of their income on housing. This is happening at the same time that the foreclosure crisis batters these two groups the most.

Indiana is the least affordable for black renters, where 43 percent pay at least half their income to housing expenses. And a third of Hispanic renters in Massachusetts spend 50 percent of their income on rent and utilities, the worst showing in the country for Hispanics.

The least affordable areas for renters are the deep South, the once red-hot housing states like California and Florida, and the beleaguered Midwest manufacturing states. But places like Hawaii and Vermont also rank high on the list.

Now the recession adds another obstacle.

The unemployment rate shot up to a 25-year high of 9.4 percent in May, but that percentage is even higher for those without a high school degree — almost 16 percent — and who are more likely to be renters. They predominantly work in service industries, clearing restaurant tables, cleaning homes and offices and taking care of children and elderly parents.

“We’re talking about the person who makes your latte in the morning,” said Crowley of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

People cope with these housing situations by crowding in with family or friends or living in substandard housing or in dangerous neighborhoods. Others flock to shelters, and, in the worst cases, they sleep on the streets. For those who strain to make the rent, they are often one medical bill or car repair away from homelessness.

If affordability issues facing renters aren’t addressed, there will be social and economic consequences. Children of low-income renters who are forced to move multiple times usually fall behind in school, and later replace their parents as low-income renters. These renters will drag the nation as it faces other costly issues like Social Security, health care, ongoing wars and repairing a broken economy.

“In the long run, a society that doesn’t attend to fundamental human needs won’t succeed,” Crowley said.

We all have a stake in it.

wise quote

wise quote

Source: San Francisco Chronicle – AP – By J.W. ELPHINSTONE, AP Real Estate Writer