Martha de la Torre, 50, and her husband, Joe Badame, 48, are on a mission to strengthen the Hispanic community. In 1988, the couple set out to create a Spanish-language Pennysaver, launching El Clasificado with $350,000 from friends and family. Now, the publication is distributed in 21 Southern California neighborhoods, reaching 1 million readers per week. The business has grown to include a classifieds website, publications for younger Hispanic consumers and a division that creates marketing events with corresponding websites for corporate clients looking to target the Hispanic market.El Clasificado devotes editorial space to self-help articles, and the company, which expects to bring in $14 million in 2008, uses half of its Norwalk, California, office as a community center that provides computer classes and business training seminars. With about 3,500 loyal weekly advertisers, 90 percent of which are microenterprises, de la Torre says, "We always keep the price level accessible to the most grass-roots, small business-person in our community."
Talk to Me
How did one couple reach out to the Hispanic business community? By speaking the same language.