Despite the economic crisis, people cannot stop buying one thing: food. With many supermarkets today full of expensive organic food to inexpensive products, buying groceries can be a complicated adventure.
With a busy life, who wants to lose time in a supersized supermarket with long lines or confusing islands of shelves that look like puzzles?
Some find it faster and more familiar to go to a small, neighborhood grocery store.
“People come here because we treat them with respect, we call them by name, we offer them products they want. We sell a little bit of everything here, always what the client wants. Most clients are Latinos, they are our race, our people,” says David Padilla, owner of Padilla’s Groceries located at 3006 Culebra Road -- one of the older neighborhood stores on the West Side of San Antonio.
What makes these little grocery stores different from supermarkets?
Neighborhood grocery stores often cater to a niche market. Consumers can find unique or ethnic foods that are not easily found in supermarkets, as well as the basics. Additionally, grocery stores are located in mixed commercial and neighborhood areas, convenient for their customers.
"They find anything they want here for two or three dolars only," said Haifa Faza, owner of Navidad Grocery Store located at 2101 El Paso St. " To buy at HEB, they need big money; here is cheap and easy, " he added.
“Our clients came here to get products that they cannot find at HEB or any other supermarket. Most HEB's are American and Mexican markets only,” emphasizes Kenya Rivera, owner of Boricua Food Market, an international grocery store located at 110 Corinne Drive. Rivera's market specializes in Central American and Puerto Rican products.
Over the years, neighborhood grocery stores have changed a lot but maintain the same mission: keep the customers happy. And that is exactly why Virginia Truppner buy her groceries at La Marginal, a Puerto Rican store located at 2447 Nacogdoches Rd.
"I always came to this store because I feel identified with my culture here. We talk the same language and I found my favorite products from Puerto Rico. If I ask for guineos (bananas) or chinas (oranges), they know what I am talking about," she said.
To see a list of local and international neighborhood grocery stores, check out our map below. Click on a location for the name and information on the store.
Do you know of a small neighborhood store or ethnic grocery we missed? Please, share your experience or make a comment about your favorite neighborhood grocery store with us. It's easy and simple. Just send us an e-mail with photos, name of the store and location to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d appreciate your help in updating our list of neighborhood stores.
View Neighborhood Grocery Stores at San Antonio in a larger map