West Columbia enjoying Hispanic business boom, mayor says

Hispanic-owned businesses are popping up around the city, from retail to the food service industry.

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. — West Columbia is experiencing a Hispanic business boom.

Hispanic-owned businesses are popping up around the city, from retail to the food service industry.

News19 met with owners of these shops to learn why they decided to put down roots in West Columbia.

“We’ve had dozens and dozens of Hispanic-owned businesses open within the last year or two,” explained West Columbia Mayor, Tem Miles. “They’re in every industry, every segment of our business community. You can’t really overstate the impact that that has.

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Off Highway 378 in West Columbia sits the newest Hispanic-owned businesses in the city.

Los Patrones Western Wear y Mas, and SouthEast Design Group opened last week.

“This is a dream come true for the both of us, my dad and me,” said Jose Iglesias, a co-owner of both Los Patrones and Southeast Design Group, who always had a dream of opening a clothing store.

Iglesias says he saw a need for authentic Mexican attire in the Midlands after being forced to travel to Charlotte to find it.

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“Driving back from Charlotte we said, ‘Why don’t we just open a clothing store?'” said Iglesias. 

Los Patrones offers authentic Mexican cowboy boots, hats, belts and clothing for men and women. They also carry a selection of kids boots and attire.

In the future, Iglesias plans to sell dresses for Quinceañeras.

“We chose West Columbia, especially because the population is growing, a lot of Hispanics,” he said. “The flea market is just down the road. I feel really, really welcome.”

Next door at Southeast Design Group, they specialize in custom home building. They offer services for both interior and exterior design.

“We do everything from siding, roofing, windows, gutters and exterior renovation,” said Iglesias. “We focus a lot on the interior, cabinets, floor and tile.”

Less than five minutes away off Augusta Road and Alexandria Street, a new supermercado is under construction.

The design plan includes both a grocery store and a restaurant.

“It’s really exciting for me because it just means the community is growing,” said Luis Rivera, manager of Rivera’s Supermercado.

Off Airport Boulevard, Rivera saw the potential of an old Save-A-Lot. He turned it into the fourth Midlands location of Rivera’s Supermercado. His other stores are off Decker Boulevard in Columbia, in Gaston and Camden.

“The Hispanic community is really big in this area, so that’s why we decided to come here,” said Rivera, a native of Cayce, South Carolina.

The doors to Rivera’s Supermercado off Airport Boulevard opened in January. Soon, Rivera plans to create a small restaurant inside. This week, all store locations began making fresh tortillas. Fresh churros and pastries will be made in-house in the coming weeks.

“A fresh bakery, everything they can find and enjoy from Mexico is going to be here,” he added.

The new build off Augusta Road will mark at least the fifth supermercado in West Columbia.

“The American dream is still alive. Work hard, save your money and don’t give up. It doesn’t matter what color you are. It doesn’t matter where you come from,” said Iglesias, who came to South Carolina from Mexico 20 years ago at the age of 7. 

Owners  opened the two businesses to provide Western, women, men, and children’s attire to the area as well as flooring, roofing, and more.

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