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Square, Inc. hosts reception in Houston for Latino entrepreneurs owners who use the credit card reader to announce Spanish Language version at Archway Gallery March 31 2014
Square, Inc. hosts reception in Houston for Latino entrepreneurs owners who use the credit card reader to announce Spanish Language version at Archway Gallery March 31 2014
Marc Pembroke
square joins local entrepreneurs at Archway Gallery March 31 2014
photo by Marc Pembroke

On Monday, March 31, Square, Inc. held a reception at the Archway Gallery in Montrose to announce availability of the Square en Espagnol Spanish version of the applications supporting its portable credit card Square reader.' s credit card reader works with most smart phones, which makes it possible to make sales anywhere at any time. The technology is often used at open-air markets, parades, and festivals for sales of food, tickets, or other merchandise. The seller can begin accepting credit cards immediately without purchase of other equipment or qualifying capital.

Square technology has been available in English only for the past 5 years and used successfully throughout the United States, and particularly in Houston. But for the buyer or seller who speaks only Spanish, a translation was required for those who were not bilingual. Square en Espagnol now opens opportunities to the thousands of small businesses in Houston's Latino community.

Square.Inc used brite to facilitate the invitations and registration process to create a unique learning experience for those unfamiliar with Square. Each invitee was asked to RSVP in advance and print out a ticket which was scanned on registration. Each attendee received a packet of samples, including a free Square credit card reader and a $5 Master card which could be used to purchase samples at any of the participating vendors for $1. On presentation of a picture id., they also received two drink tickets for small samples of 8th Wonder Bewery. Outside Eatsie Boys and Goro and Gun food trucks also participated.

All the vendors for the evening completed their sales at their booths or outside at their food trucks using the square card reader. The process is simple. Once the card is swiped in the reader, the smart phone screen displays the details of the purchase and the amount, and provides a space for the customer to sign on the touch screen. The action is completed as quickly as in store with a traditional cash register. Square also has an application called “Square Wallet” which allows customers who are not merchants to make ordinary purchases at participating stores.

“Frosted Betty Bakeshop” makes delicious desert cakes in several different flavors. In a brief introduction, the owner explained company is starting up and has occupied small commercial spaces, but regularly sells at locations like the weekly Farmer's Market on Wednesdays at City Hall. With the Square, they have been able to grow the business by selling at any location anytime they set up.

Similarly, Tallent Ricca, the personable young owner of created unique ice cream sandwich desserts, which she sells from a rolling push cart. She is able to offer the refreshing chocolate/peanut butter treats to passers-by at festivals. Again, commercial restaurant space would have been prohibitively expensive.

Chris Rico Ramirez, owner of Barber Social Club, started cutting hair at homes, during lunch breaks at work, and anywhere friends needed a haircut. Eventually, he earned his license and opened a shop. Most customers paid in cash, but people are more likely to carry only a credit card, and some asked after completing a haircut for time to go to an ATM machine. Some never returned. Using his Square card reader, Chris finish each transaction without difficulty.

The Archway Gallery at 2305-A Dunlavy Street is a cooperative venture jointly owned and operated by about 30 local artists. Like the food vendors, artists frequently make sales at temporary exhibits, and purchases are often made on an impromptu basis.

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