Many vibrant neighborhoods in West Michigan have large, growing Hispanic populations. In fact, Hispanics are one of the fastest growing segments of West Michigan’s population, due to high immigration and birth rates. According to the U.S. Census, over 94,000 Hispanics lived in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, and Allegan Counties in 2006 — a little more than 7% of the total population — and that population has doubled since 1994. But the population of Hispanic individuals is not all that is growing. The number and variety of Hispanic-owned or Hispanic-focused businesses in Kent County is also increasing, evidenced by block after block of colorful retail storefronts on south Grandville Avenue (a.k.a. “Cesar E. Chávez Boulevard” for the legendary leader of migrant workers), on the west end of Bridge Street, and on South Division to 44th Street. There you will find an array of stores and services, from accountants and beauty shops to restaurants and supermarkets, most of which appear to be targeted to Spanish-speaking customers.