Mi Pueblo Food Center
|Headquarters||San Jose, California, U.S.|
Number of locations
|Products||Meat, produce, seafood, flowers, baked goods|
Mi Pueblo is a Northern California’s leading neighborhood grocery retailed in San Jose, California. Mi Pueblo has a total of 19 store locations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, Central Valley and Monterey Bay Peninsula. Mi Pueblo was established in 1991 and is known for providing authentic Latino shopping experience. It strives to create an ambiance reminiscent of the crowded, fresh-food markets of Mexico and Latin America while also carrying all the grocery items generally available in mainstream supermarkets.
History and founder
Juvenal Chavez is founder and the Chairman of the Board of Mi Pueblo. Chavez emigrated from Mexico in 1984 and spoke no English at the time, taking odd jobs while attending night school to learn English. At one point he worked as a janitor at Stanford University. and in 1986, he went into business with his brother running Chavez Meat Market. In 1991, deciding to go off on his own, he purchased Country Time Meats in San Jose, California, starting his mercantile chain. Chavez opened his first business in the Bay Area because he found that the Hispanic population was very under-served and needed to purchase food easily without being impeded by their lack of knowledge in the English language. He started with the meat business because it was the most obvious opportunity. Over time he expanded into produce, bakery and deli, then grocery. Now Mi Pueblo is a $300 million business, with 19 stores opened and significant growth on the horizon.
Juvenal Chavez became a player in the grocery retail business receiving numerous awards such as “Innovator of the Year.” In 2009, the National Grocers Association also named Mi Pueblo Foods “Outstanding Community Based Retailer.” The Mexican American Community Services Agency named him an influential Latino of the Silicon Valley in 2009. Then in March 2009 Mi Pueblo Foods opened in Pittsburg, CA.
In June 2014, Mi Pueblo announced its emergence from Chapter 11 after receiving $56 million in financing from Chicago- based investment firm Victory Park Capital (VPC). With this announcement came the appointment of Javier Ramirez as President and Chief Executive Officer of Mi Pueblo.
With nearly 20 years of retail experience, Ramirez focuses his efforts toward enhancing the company’s authentic Hispanic product offering, improving customer service throughout Mi Pueblo stores and reassuring products are sold at fair and competitive prices to the community.
Ramirez was also joined by Martin Cortes as Chief Financial Officer and Jose Aguayo as Vice President of Human Resources to help stabilize the company from a financial and staffing standpoint.
Departments, products & services
Mi Pueblo has seven different departments in the store. The first department is the meat department offering over 100 different cuts of meat. There is a wide variety of Latin American styled marinated meats, entrails, poultry and seafood - along with a full-service butcher staff trained to engage with customers. Next is the produce department offering over 400 items from fresh produce, spices, ready-to-eat cut fruit, a wide variety of nuts, and cut flower bouquets. The third department is the bakery featuring items such as bolillos, tres leches cake and pan dulce all made from scratch daily from regionally trained master bakers. The Tortilleria, one of the most popular departments, prepares warm, fresh tortillas on a daily basis. The Hot Deli department offers a diverse selection of dishes from Mexico and Latin America. The seafood department offers a wide variety of fish, shrimp and freshly prepared dishes.
The full-service grocery department features over 17,000 imported products as well as mainstream and national brand labels. In October 2014, Mi Pueblo started offering a full range of Western Union services throughout all its stores in the Bay Area, Monterey Peninsula and Central Valley to enhance existing customer needs such as check cashing, utility payments, money transfers and money orders. Tickets to local events are also available at Mi Pueblo.
Controversy over immigration checks
In September 2012, Mi Pueblo was criticized by labor organizations for enrolling in E-verify, a Department of Homeland Security program which screens employees for irregularities in their immigration status. As an owner, Juvenal Chavez was accused of hypocrisy, since he started out in business as an illegal immigrant. A spokesperson for the business said that Chavez supported fixing the "broken" immigration system.
On July 22, 2013, Mi Pueblo filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy citing difficulties with Wells Fargo Bank, their primary lender. Less than a full year later on June 4, 2014, Mi Pueblo made the official announcement that they formally emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization after having completed a necessary financial restructuring. Part of their newly adopted shared new leadership changes with Javier Ramirez being appointed to the position of President and CEO. Ramirez will succeed Mi Pueblo founder Juvenal Chavez, who will be named Chairman of the Board.Ramirez is a seasoned CEO in the Hispanic food and grocery sector, with a proven track record of leading operational improvement strategies, developing strategic expansion initiatives, and accelerating growth in profitability. With nearly 20 years of experience, he will lead Mi Pueblo as it repositions its business and renews its commitment to the local Hispanic community.
Mi Pueblo is committed to supporting the communities it serves through initiatives and campaigns. In 2011 Mi Pueblo launched its scholarship program to help students prepare for a brighter future. Since the program was launched Mi Pueblo has awarded more than $550,000 in scholarships funds to over 350 individuals in the Bay Area, Central Coast and Central Valley regions who wished to continue their education or were enrolled in college. In 2015, the Mi Pueblo scholarship program will award more than $200,000 to deserving scholars.
In 2014, Mi Pueblo in collaboration with Mexican Heritage Corporation, raised over $100,000 to provide adequate legal representation to unaccompanied minors at the U.S border through its month- long campaign Unidos por los Niños. The campaign surpassed the company’s goal thanks to local supporters and the community.
Part of Mi Pueblo’s company pillars includes a commitment to maintain Hispanic culture and traditions alive. This is accomplished through Ballet Folklorico competitions, participation in community events, school field trips, donations to nonprofit organizations and churches and partnering with organizations to educate its consumers on issues affecting the community.
- Supermarket News
- Himmel, Sheila. Filling Shopping Carts, and a Community Need." The New York Times. January 14, 2010. Retrieved on February 2, 2013.
- Staff. "Mi Pueblo bags $300M in revenue." San Francisco Business Times. July 18, 2010. Retrieved on February 2, 2013.
- "Mi Pueblo owner has more in store." Silicon Valley Business Journal. June 11, 2006. Retrieved on February 2, 2013.
- O'Brien, Matt (6 September 2012). "Hispanic market chain chief targeted for checking new employee immigration status". Oakland Tribune.
- Why Mi Pueblo filed for bankruptcy - it's not what you think
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