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NEO Hispanic Chamber of Commerce surprises new businesses with parrandas

'I felt like I was at home.'
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Posted at 10:42 PM, Dec 17, 2021

BROOKLYN, Ohio — There’s always a buzz at Headquarters Barbershop on Ridge Road in Brooklyn, but Friday the buzz was interrupted by a ballad.

The team at Northeast Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce surprised unsuspecting businesses in Brooklyn with an old-fashioned, Puerto Rican parranda.

“It’s a typical tradition to do parrandas, which is our version of Christmas carols,” said executive director, Jenice Contreras. “You literally go to a house or a business and you surprise them with a carol or Christmas singing.”

Contreras said it was about bringing the island tradition to Cleveland.

“This is our style of Christmas caroling. It’s very common around the holidays in Puerto Rico,” said Antonio Andino, the owner of Headquarters Barbershop. “It was an awesome surprise. It was beautiful. It takes you back to Puerto Rico.”

Contreras said they chose to go around to businesses in Brooklyn for a reason: There’s a lot of them.

“In the Old Brooklyn neighborhood, we have seen a huge influx in Latino businesses and have been working with a lot of them,” she said.

Andino said the chamber of commerce did a lot for him.

“They helped me out, establish my LLC, get my business going. They’ve been very helpful,” he said.

Harry Quinones echoed his sentiment. He opened up 787 Market a year ago.

“We specialize in Puerto Rican products so we feel like we are representing the island of Puerto Rico,” he said.

Quinones said the parranda was a pleasant surprise.

“I wish that was a tradition that more people would participate in and we could do it in our communities where, you know, there’s a lot of us,” he said. “I felt like I was home.”