Mi Pueblo Food Center

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Mi Pueblo Foods
Industry Retail
Founded 1991
Founder Juvenal Chavez
Headquarters San Jose, California, U.S.
Number of locations
Area served
Northern California
Products Meat, produce, seafood, flowers, baked goods
Number of employees
Website mipueblofoods.com

Mi Pueblo Foods is a family-owned grocery store chain headquartered in San Jose, California.[1] Mi Pueblo has a total of 21 store locations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, Central Valley and Monterey Bay Peninsula. There are currently no plans to open more stores in the near future.[2] Mi Pueblo was established in 1991 and is known for providing authentic Latino shopping experience.[3] They strive 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.[4]

As of 2008 it had over $200 million in annual sales.[5]

History and founder[edit]

Juvenal Chavez is the chief executive officer of Mi Pueblo Food Center. 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.[6] and in 1986, he went into business with his brother running Chavez Meat Market.[7] 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 underserved 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.[3] Now Mi Pueblo is a $300 million business, with 19 stores opened and significant growth on the horizon.[6]

Juvenal Chavez has become 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.

Departments and products[edit]

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.[3] 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.[7] Another 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.[citation needed] The Tortilleria prepares warm, fresh tortillas on a daily basis. The Hot Deli department offers a diverse selection of dishes from Mexico and Latin America. The full-service grocery department features over 17,000 imported products as well as mainstream and national brand labels. Lastly, Mi Pueblo has a customer service department that offers services such as check cashing, utility payments, money transfers, and ticket sales for a slight fee.

Controversy over immigration checks[edit]

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.[8]


On July 22, 2013, Mi Pueblo filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy citing difficulties with Wells Fargo Bank, their primary lender.[9] 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.


  1. ^ SanRafaelPatch
  2. ^ ABC
  3. ^ a b c Supermarket News
  4. ^ Himmel, Sheila. Filling Shopping Carts, and a Community Need." The New York Times. January 14, 2010. Retrieved on February 2, 2013.
  5. ^ Upshaw, Jennifer. "Hispanic market Mi Pueblo foods headed to San Rafael." Marin Independent Journal. May 13, 2009. "Mi Pueblo Food Centers, a growing grocery chain based in San Jose with sales topping $200 million last year, plans to take over the Circuit City store in San[...]"
  6. ^ a b Staff. "Mi Pueblo bags $300M in revenue." San Francisco Business Times. July 18, 2010. Retrieved on February 2, 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Mi Pueblo owner has more in store." Silicon Valley Business Journal. June 11, 2006. Retrieved on February 2, 2013.
  8. ^ O'Brien, Matt (6 September 2012). "Hispanic market chain chief targeted for checking new employee immigration status". Oakland Tribune. 
  9. ^ Why Mi Pueblo filed for bankruptcy - it's not what you think

External links[edit]