Puerto Rican small businesses devastated or damaged by Hurricane Maria are getting a hand from The Hispanic Federation, The Coca‑Cola Company and Prudential Financial through the innovative "PopTiendas" program.
PopTiendas are modified, weather-resistant steel containers, many of which are equipped with solar panels, rainwater collection systems and potable water storage, cold drink equipment, generators and food service equipment.
"Thanks to the generosity of The Coca‑Cola Company and Prudential Financial, $1 million will be dedicated to the PopTiendas initiative to grant up to 40 sustainable, eco-friendly structures to eligible small businesses, entrepreneurs and nonprofits on the island, helping renew or open retail or service establishments and bringing businesses back online,” Frankie Miranda, senior vice president of The Hispanic Federation, explained May 23 at a press conference in Bayamón, Puerto Rico.
The units will be available in various sizes, from 8 ft. by 8 ft. to 8 ft. by 40 ft. Each can be customized based on the business plan of the grantee. Small businesses can apply for a PopTiendas grant by visiting Hispanicfederationunidos.org/poptiendas.
“Coca‑Cola is proud to partner with the Hispanic Federation and Prudential Financial to provide an innovative model for retail establishments and an opportunity for business owners, entrepreneurs and non-profits to strengthen local economies, at an affordable cost,” said Andy Buckingham, general manager, Coca‑Cola Puerto Rico.
An estimated two-thirds of Puerto Rico’s 45,000 small and mid-sized businesses closed temporarily after Hurricane Maria hit last fall. Thousands were projected to never reopen. With small and mid-sized businesses representing 90% of the island’s workforce, the PopTiendas initiative will play a role in restoring and strengthening this sector.
In October 2017, The Coca‑Cola Foundation pledged $3 million in grants to relief organizations, including a $1 million grant to the Salvation Army to help provide food and shelter in areas impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria across the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.