Immigrant Businesses

v i s u a l i z i n g   i m m i g r a n t   P h o e n i x

Immigrants are more entrepreneurial than native-born Americans, owning businesses at a higher rate than their percentage of the US population. They also constitute a significant and growing consumer market. Here we explore businesses that are migrant-owned or cater to immigrant tastes and cultural needs.

Cynthia Canez, September 2016


Mekong Plaza shows the Asian immigrant presence in the city. Now that Asians outnumber Hispanic arrivals to the US, metro Phoenix can expect an increase in businesses and services addressed to Asian immigrants and their diasporic communities.

Curated Photo Set. September 2016


The team visited this supermercado catering to Latino tastes during Hispanic Heritage Month. Maryvale location.

Patrick Ingham, October 2016


This family-owned traditional Mexican restaurant helped shape the ever-burgeoning Mexican restaurant business in metro Phoenix, and lined the stomachs of its innumerable customers with culinary joy and an extra dose of... aribaaaaaaaaaaaa!


Chrystin Sanchez, October 2016


This curated photo set captures a unique Target store that offers a wide selection of Latino foods, health products and entertainment items. It is located in an area heavily populated by Latinos and immigrants, on 75th Avenue and Virginia.

Crystal Cespedes, October 2016


Introducing Somali businesswoman Barlin Mohamud, who offers culinary treats at her cafe popular with Somali customers.

Cynthia Canez, November 2016


Food is culture, and an important way immigrants keep their cultural connections vital. International groceries cater to migrant kitchens across metro Phoenix, in this curated photo set.

Crystal Cespedes, November 2016


Shopping at LF Market and Lam’s Market helps to foster the connection between migrant-owned businesses and the established population.

Sanhareb Nano, March 2018


A family-run taco truck started by Mexican immigrants became Tacos Tijuana, a restaurant transporting the authentic flavors of hometown Tijuana to metro Phoenix.

See Sanhareb's video of this story created for Displacements, a virtual conference sponsored by the Society for Cultural Anthropology & the Society for Visual Anthropology, April 19-21, 2018.

Nina Rocket, March 2018


Kunafa cheese pastry sweetened with honey and rosewater syrup, baklava with ashta and pistachio—these delectable Lebanese pastries can be found at Mr. Sweets bakery in north Phoenix. The Shatila family was displaced to the US from their homeland during the Lebanese Civil War. Michael Shatila enriches our local palate with global culture and cuisine.

See Nina's video of this story created for Displacements, a virtual conference sponsored by the Society for Cultural Anthropology & the Society for Visual Anthropology, April 19-21, 2018. (4:3)

Ceiphers Brings Fashion and Philanthropy to Phoenix

Nina Rocket, March 2018


Kenya-born entrepreneur Ceiphers Olweya brings “African Inspired, American Made” fashion to Phoenix. The dazzling patterns of East African Kitenge fabric brings pizzaz to everyday clothing, and Ceiphers’ philanthropy reaches causes in both his global homeland and our local community.

Megan Reder, April 2018

In the heart of Central Phoenix, McDowell Road serves as local “border” to the globe, an interactive zone of complex crossings where migrants display multiple homeland cultures to their new city and blur our nations’ spatial edges.

Sanhareb Nano, April 2018


The Isra Market is a small immigrant-run shop on McDowell Road, but its role in the Somali refugee community in Phoenix is much larger. Cultural entrepreneurs help diaspora communities gain their strength and self-sufficiency, and revitalize the local economy.

By Nina Rocket and Sanhareb Nano, May 2018

Visit a local migrant-run , multi-tasker restaurant and Xochipala-style bakery from the state of Guererro, Mexico. It also offers income tax help and other services to the Mexican immigrant community. Vibrant murals enliven the cityscape and educate viewers about crossborder events and culture.