McLeod Mortuary in Escondido, Calif., not far from the U.S.-Mexico border, recently became more Latino-friendly by changing its name to Funeria Del Angel after more than 80 years in the funeral and cremation business.
Beaner Coffee, with 77 stores in Michigan and eight other states, changed its name to Biggby Coffee to avoid offending people of Mexican descent.
And officials renamed Sí TV, an English-language cable channel for Latinos, earlier this year in an attempt to lure bi-cultural Latino viewers.
Throughout the nation, businesses are taking notice of the inevitable: a growing Latino market that is complex, multi-cultural and that -- despite varying levels of education and buying power -- is impressive because of its sheer size and growth potential.
"A market of 50 million people is hard to ignore," said Patricio Navia, a political science professor at New York University. "It makes a lot of sense for businesses to design strategies to gain entry to this market. At the same time, the increase in Latinos has a cost. The Latino population tends to have lower education levels than whites, and their average income tends to be lower."
In Southern California, McLeod Mortuary could not ignore the city's current demographics.
"We wanted to cater more to the Latino community because this is a funeral home more of the Latino population frequents," said Jessica McDunn, spokeswoman for Service Cooperation International, which owns and operates the funeral home. "It made sense."
Escondido is largely Hispanic. According to the San Diego Association of Governments, Latinos account for 46 percent of the city's population, or the second-largest ethnic group. Non-Hispanic whites represent 44 percent of the population.
When customers call the funeral home, they are greeted with the message, "Funeraria Del Angel, how can we help you?" -- but the business also has Spanish-speaking associates.
"Our firm is working very hard to make sure we can communicate with our community members in their preferred language and we are staffing ourselves effectively," McDunn said. READ MORE