Imagine a bustling town in Central or South America – the vendors, the shops, the meshing of languages and cultures. Now imagine that experience set in Gwinnett County, because that’s just what General Manager Joe Comonte and his associates envisioned three years ago when they started planning Plaza Las Americas in Lilburn.
With one of the largest Latino populations in Georgia, Gwinnett is the hub of many different Latino-oriented stores and attractions. Of the more than 900,000 in the county, about 20% of the population is Hispanic. We are excited that Plaza Las Americas decided to make Gwinnett County its home.
“The project started about three years ago, with the vision to create a Hispanic-type mall in Gwinnett County, as we noticed there was a huge Hispanic population that was not being served by any major Hispanic malls in the northeast side of Atlanta,” said Comonte.
They decided on a long vacant Lowe’s home improvement store on Pleasant Hill Road after considering several different locations. The property was the right size and centrally located. close to the heart of Gwinnett.
“Through much planning and development, we designed and created a mall that mimics a small plaza found in just about anywhere in Latin America, complete with a central water fountain, small shops and vendors,” said Comonte. “The name came from the very diverse demographic makeup of the area. The Hispanic population in Gwinnett County is a huge mix of nationalities from all over central and south America, compared to other counties were the greater numbers usually come from Mexico and the like. We thought the name would be fitting as it integrates all the different Hispanic cultures found throughout Latin America.”
Plaza Las Americas currently has 219 open stores, offering a variety of services, from clothing boutiques to travel agencies, professional services such as lawyers, real estate agents and mortgage lenders, prenatal care, insurance companies, phone companies, spas, hair salons, printing companies, and restaurants, just to name a few. There will soon be a full-size Hispanic supermarket and outdoor soccer fields, as well as family-oriented attractions. The goal is to provide a one-stop shopping experience not only for the Hispanic community, but for all of Gwinnett County.
“We pride ourselves in creating an environment that develops entrepreneurs into successful business people,” explained Comonte. “We provide an opportunity for first-time small business owners to achieve the ‘All-American Dream’ that brought them to our shores in the first place. And isn’t that what makes America great?”