Roberto Torres is part of something big.

“First of all, I’m an immigrant first before anything else. I’m an American citizen but was born in Panama country,” said the Owner of Cass Street Deli, Roberto Torres. “I immigrated here in 1998 to go to Florida State University. The plan was to come, get educated, and then go back. But here I am 21 years later.” Soon after, Torres began his empire of small businesses across Tampa Bay. “An apparel and clothing business called Black and Denim. It’s 11 years old. Our second business is a coffeehouse, The Blind Tiger. Our third business is called Cass Street Deli,” he said. And as of this week, he became part of something even bigger.

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Making up almost 19% of the U.S. population, Latinos are becoming a bigger economic force. And according to new data released by SmartAsset.com, St. Petersburg made the top twenty cities in the nation where Hispanics and Latinos are faring best economically.

With plans to open his latest business in the Clearwater, St. Petersburg area, he says he’s managing pretty well.

“Latinos have… this… magic,” said Torres. “We find ways to connect with our customers. We’re in the ‘people business’. You know, breakfast lunch is sandwiches, it’s salads. That’s what we use in terms of connecting.”

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According to that same study, the number of Hispanic and Latino U.S.  households is expected to grow to nearly 5 million by 2040. Torres says it all starts with drive.

“Even though that it was a very rough year for everybody, to me personally, it was an opportunity, you know, it was a teaching moment on things that are important. And the things that you can do without. Business owners always find a way to thrive and succeed. As long as there is a drive.”

Be sure to look out for details on the new St. Pete/Clearwater location coming early 2022.

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