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Tuesday, Feb 7, 2023
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Issue Preview: Latino Power

Three butchers work behind a long meat counter, weighing and wrapping a stunning variety of beef, pork, chicken and lamb. Next to them, a case displays five kinds of ceviche, a raw seafood cured in citrus. Another counter offers no fewer than a dozen kinds of fresh cheeses. Take in the enormous produce section, fragrant bakery, restaurant tables and heavy foot traffic you might think you were in a swanky Whole Foods market. But the mariachi music and TV screen showing rodeo highlights would prove you wrong. This is not an artisanal grocer – it’s the Vallarta Supermarket that opened in a closed Albertson’s store in Winnetka in 2007. While mainstream supermarkets are consolidating, shrinking their space and losing market share after decades of growth, supermarkets and other retailers catering to California’s growing, 14.5 million-strong Latino population are thriving. For instance, Latinos go to the grocery store a whopping 26 times a month, triple the average of the general population, according to the Food Marketing Institute, an industry organization based in Arlington, Va. And with larger households and more home cooks, Latino shoppers spend $175 more at grocery stores annually than the national average, according to Nielsen Co., a research firm based in New York. For decades, however, mainstream real estate developers have been slow to embrace the population due to stereotypes, a lack of market data and security concerns that keep them out of the densely populated, working-class neighborhoods dominated by Mexican and Central American immigrants. “They’re underserved by retail and over-served by work ethic. You’re less likely to find a national credit tenant, but the family ownership that is there pitches in and works twice as hard to keep the business going,” said Matthew May, president of May Realty Advisors, a Sherman Oaks retail brokerage. Read the full story in the April 20 edition of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal

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