Vendor memos from Mi Pueblo Food Center and Cardenas Markets dated Nov. 1 said that KKR, a global investment firm, has made investments in each company. Mi Pueblo operates in Northern California, Cardenas in Southern California.
Both grocers say KKR is committed to their growth, saying the investment will be used for “creating new jobs and offering long and rewarding career paths for our executives and employees.”
According to the Mi Pueblo statement, KKR is joining with Victory Park Capital to make a “significant” investment.
Based in San Jose, Mi Pueblo has 19 stores in the San Francisco Bay Area, Central Valley and Monterey Bay Peninsula. It was established in 1991 and is known for its authentic Latino shopping experience. Its goal is 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, the company’s website says.
Sally Hernandez, Mi Pueblo VP of purchasing, said the investment will allow Mi Pueblo to make “numerous upgrades and remodels to our stores over the next several months to ensure they are set for growth.”
The statement from Ontario-based Cardenas Markets’ VP of Purchasing Alvaro Rosales, says, “We’re excited to report a new chapter for the Cardenas Markets family,” adding that KKR “has partnered with the Cardenas family to further build Cardenas Markets.”
The companies will continue to operate separately for now, they said in their statements: “For the time being, Mi Pueblo and Cardenas Markets will continue to operate as two separate entities and will conduct ‘business as usual’ until further notice.”
Cardenas operates 30 stores in Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada. Founder Jesus Cardenas came to California in 1957 from Jalisco, Mexico, as part of the “Bracero” work program. He and his wife, Luz, opened the first Cardenas Market in 1981, becoming known for offering dishes based on recipes from Jalisco. The first Las Vegas store opened in 2009. The company now is run by the second generation of the Cardenas family.
Mi Pueblo spins off three stores to Chavez
In addition, Mi Pueblo will be selling three stores to Juvenal Chavez, who will step down from the Mi Pueblo board and will no longer have an ownership stake or affiliation with the company.
Chavez “will be rebranding these three stores under a different name and starting a new venture,” Hernandez said.
The stores are located on South Rengstorff Avenue in Mountain View; McLaughlin Avenue in San Jose; and North Tracy Boulevard in Tracy.