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LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Today's cover story in USA Today appears to have been written specifically to coincide with the opening of the 2011 Hispanic Retail 360 Summit, hosted by Stagnito Media, parent company to Convenience Store News.
According to the cover story, "The end of the first decade of the 21st century marks a turning point in the nation's social, cultural, geographic, racial and ethnic fabric. It's a shift so profound that it reveals an America that seemed unlikely a mere 20 years ago -- one that will influence the nation for years to come in everything from who is elected to run the country, states and cities, to what type of houses will be built and where."
One of the most significant shifts has been toward ethnic diversity, which seems to have happened faster than experts predicted. The article goes on to note:
• One of the most significant demographic trends of the past 20 years is the explosive growth of Hispanics. Now at 50 million -- almost one in six Americans -- Hispanics have more than doubled their numbers in 1990.
• The Hispanic boom has spread far beyond traditional immigrant gateways such as California and Florida, altering the American landscape in states such as Kansas and North Carolina.
• Just more than 1 percent of North Carolina's 6.6 million residents were Hispanic in 1990. As of 2010, almost 7 percent of the 9.5 million residents were Hispanic.
The article also discussed several other demographic trends that have changed America during the past decade.
Meanwhile in La Jolla, Calif., today marks the opening of the seventh annual Hispanic Retail 360 Summit, featuring retailer, supplier and marketing experts sharing their thoughts, views and examples of best practices for meeting the needs of this growing consumer demographic. As of yesterday afternoon, nearly 600 delegates had registered for the conference.
Today's agenda begins with store tours to three retailers that are doing an exceptional job of serving the local Latino community in the greater San Diego area: a Hispanic supermarket (La Bodega), a drugstore (Rite Aid) and a general market grocer, Food4Less.
This afternoon, the speaker program kicks off with a special session on workforce diversity, featuring new research from the Network of Executive Women and speakers from Target, Safeway, PepsiCo and Deloitte. Following that, Cesar Melgoza, CEO of Geoscape, will make a dynamic presentation entitled, "When will Latinos be treated like the mainstream?"
This evening's opening reception, sponsored by Save A Lot, will feature an appearance by Pitbull, the hugely popular Latino rapper, singer-songwriter and record producer.
Check out CSNews.com all week long for coverage of the Hispanic Retail 360 Summit.