As part of our Hispanic Heritage Month coverage, we celebrate members of the Erie community.

This month we are sharing stories of several local Hispanic business owners.

One business owner moved to Erie in the 1980’s and incorporated his Hispanic Heritage into his work while opening a Mexican restaurant in Downtown Erie.

Another business owner moved to Erie in 2007 with hopes of creating a wood working business. He said that there are resources in Erie that helped get his small business up and running.

Armando Reyes is the owner of Lake Erie Woodworks, a custom wood working business on West 12th Street.

He said that in 2007 he moved from Chicago to Erie in search of opportunities as his grandparents did when they immigrated from Mexico to the United States in the 1950’s.

“They sort of put their family in the best position possible and my parents did the same thing you know. They worked as hard as they could to give us the best life possible, and when we moved to Erie we wanted to continue that legacy,” said Armando Reyes, Owner of Lake Erie Woodworks.

Reyes said that he started his wood working business in 2018. He said that the Erie County Redevelopment Authority helped him afford professional equipment through a minority loan program that has helped him take his business to the next level.

Reyes said that he also includes the community by hosting monthly wood working group meetings adding his ethnic background enriches his work and contributions.

“I really do try to connect my Hispanic heritage to my definitely incorporating it to my business and it’s a real integral part of m life for myself and my wife,” said Reyes.

One businessman man moved to Erie in the 1980’s. He said that since then he and his family have worked to incorporate their Mexican heritage in the Erie community.

“Keep the best things of our culture and adopt the best things of the American culture to enrich ourselves and our family and descendants and I think we have accomplished that,” said Julio Reyes, Business Owner.

Reyes said that he moved from Mexico to California and then to Erie.

He said that his first business venture was a tortilla factory in Little Italy. Then in the 90’s his family opened a restaurant on Parade Street called Latinos which has since closed.

Now Reyes will soon open a restaurant at the former Maennerchor Club. He said that he feels confident as the Erie community enjoyed Mexican cuisine at Latinos.

“It’s not Americanized Mexican. It’s not Tex Mex. We are coming from Mexico City but we have the influence of all of the different states in Mexico,” said Reyes.

Julio Reyes said that his restaurant Julius will open at some point in October.

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