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Hispanic-owned hardware store celebrates serving its community on Detroit’s west side

ESI Hardware has been serving Detroit for nearly two decades

DETROIT – Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month and Local 4 is celebrating a Mexican-American business that has spent years serving their community on Detroit’s west side.

RELATED: Here’s why Hispanic Heritage Month starts in the middle of September

It wasn’t Irma Fuentes plan to own a hardware shop in southwest Detroit on her own.

“It was very hard in the beginning,” Fuentes said. “It was very hard but I learned. I’m very pleased with my community. They’ve helped me a lot.”

The community supported her after her husband died in 2005, just two years after opening ESI Hardware Store on Lawndale Street, just north of Lafayette Boulevard.

“Every time they see something suspicious, they come and ask me, ‘Are you OK? Be careful,'” Fuentes said. “That’s why I like to be here, we are like a family.”

But despite community support. owning a hardware store as a female has its challenges

“Some men don’t respect us. For a woman to own a hardware store, I think is very bad because they think we don’t know anything,” Fuentes said.

She said she’s a quick learner and her loyal customers taught her everything she needed to know to be a savvy business owner at ESI Hardware.

“Sometimes I ended up with tears. Sometimes I felt stupid, ‘What an I doing here?’" Fuentes said. “But I feel very proud and I never regret I ended up with the store.”

And now that this hardware store has been around for 17 years, she takes great pride in seeing her young customers grow older.

“When I met kids who are young and now they are growing men, I feel very proud because I say ‘I’ve known you since you were little and now look at you working!’” Fuentes said.

MORE: Hispanic Heritage


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