Thousands attend 2nd Annual Latino Business Expo in Yakima - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Thousands attend 2nd Annual Latino Business Expo in Yakima

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YAKIMA, Wash. – The 2nd annual Latino Business, Consumer, and Career Expo at the Yakima Convention Center on Sunday gave business owners and members of the Hispanic community the chance to learn more about each other and consider new partnerships.

"If you look at Yakima and the Tri-Cities, the Hispanic population is not an emerging market anymore," said Albert Torres of Tu Decides Media.

More than 3,000 people were expected to attend the Expo with more than 80 different vendors participating in the event. Both figures are increases from last year.

Newly released census data shows that Hispanics make up one in six Americans. Organizers of the Expo say that is more evidence of the need for businesses to engage the Latino market.

Torres says that the Hispanics in this region are made up of multiple generations and many of the second and third generations have professional careers with higher levels of education. He says those changing demographics with a rapidly rising population creates a group with strong buying power.

"It's a very mature market," he said. "So those companies that are not reaching the Hispanic community are really missing out."

Latinos make up roughly half of the population in the Yakima Valley and Mid-Columbia Basin.

The Tri-Cities will host another Latino Expo on May 15 at the Three Rivers Convention Center.