As featured in the Spring 2020 issue of The Executive, an online magazine featuring members of Gwinnett Chamber’s Chairman’s Club.
Just by walking into the local coffee shop, it’s easy to see that diversity in Gwinnett County is growing. Which is a good thing, especially for businesses. “There’s economic power in that,” said Rene Alegria, a recent newcomer to the Chairman’s Club. “And because Gwinnett is run the way it is, unleashing that power for the growth of real business is not going to be hard.”
Alegria is president and CEO of Mundo Hispano, the largest independently owned Spanish language media company in the United States. Based in Doraville, the company is planning to make a move to Gwinnett County in the near future. “Our community is going to Gwinnett and so we have to go with it,” he said. The Hispanic community makes up 21.5 percent of Gwinnett County’s population.
Mundo Hispano is the parent company of Mundo Hispánico, a Spanish-language weekly newspaper distributed throughout metro Atlanta; mundohispanico.com, an international Spanish-language news and entertainment website; and, most recently, an event space in Gwinnett County.
Started as a Latin American Association newsletter in 1979, Mundo Hispánico was bought by Cox Media Group in 2004. In late 2018, a group of investors led by former Georgia State Senator Sam Zamarripa and including Alegria rescued the paper from extinction by buying Mundo Hispano from Cox Media. Since the acquisition, the company’s growth has been explosive. “I can’t be happier with how things have evolved,” Alegria said. “We’ve tripled our monthly unique users. Our advertising has ballooned.”
But unlike many media companies, the goal for Mundo is more than just to sell more advertising. “There’s a larger, broader mission for us to make sure that Mundo does the right thing for the Hispanic community,” Alegria said. “That’s why we work so hard. It’s more than just Mundo. It’s more than just us.”
Since its beginnings, Mundo has served as a bridge between businesses and the Hispanic community. “The founder Lino Dominguez knew that in order for Mundo to exist, he not only needed to make sure that the community embraced it and knew that it was there, but that local businesses understood to get to that community, they had to go through Mundo,” Alegria said.
Distributing Georgia’s largest Spanish language publication, hosting nearly 2 million page views a day and regularly engaging 3.1 million Facebook fans, Mundo’s reach within the Hispanic and Latino community is huge and Alegria sees that as an opportunity to help businesses, especially Gwinnett-based companies, connect with that audience. “Mundo is a viable vehicle in which businesses can not only grow their business but also get to know the real nature of their community,” he said.
After a warm welcome from the Gwinnett Chamber, joining the Chairman’s Club seemed like the next logical step to Alegria. He looks forward to more opportunities to meet with business leaders and further create awareness of and connectivity to the growing Hispanic community in Gwinnett County. “I do represent the Hispanic community and where I go, Mundo goes. And where Mundo goes, Latinos are,” Alegria said. “So when I’m at Chaiman’s Club things, it’s just a reminder at large that the community is changing. And that’s a large part of why I joined.”
Mundo is already working within the Gwinnett community to promote those positive connections. Partnering with the Gwinnett County Library system, Mundo’s staff is helping produce and host Spanish-language videos, Facebook Live events and local readings that will start this spring. The partnership’s goal is to better connect with the Spanish-speaking community and educate everyone on the benefits available at their local libraries.
Alegria believes that engagement of the Hispanic community and the inclusive atmosphere of Gwinnett County in general will be paramount for the County moving forward. “Everyone in Gwinnett should make sure that Mundo, and other entities like Mundo that represent diversity, thrive because it’s part of the future of a successful Gwinnett. If you don’t embrace it, it will leave you behind,” he said. “From what I see in the business leaders of Gwinnett, that’s not going to happen. Gwinnett could be ahead of it.”
Written by Heather Collins. Photo courtesy of Mundo Hispano.
Featured image: The Grand at Ivy Point, Mundo’s new event space in Suwanee, serves as a place for businesses and the Hispanic community to come together. Available for both public and private events, The Grand will also host quarterly luncheons for the business community focusing on how to better reach the Hispanic population, covering demographics, messaging, and the successes and pitfalls of engaging Hispanic consumers.
|Atlanta Metro County||Percent of Residents who Identify as Hispanic or Latino|