Walking down the produce aisle in her cap and gown with co-workers cheering her on was not how Harley Hernandez envisioned celebrating her high school graduation. But like thousands of other graduates this year, ceremonies and family gatherings were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was an emotional moment for Hernandez, who walked with her mom in tears.
The family at Northgate González Market wanted their associates to know how proud they were of them by hosting a special celebration in their honor. California’s leading Latino grocery store recently cheered on 151 graduates at various locations and gifted each one with a $100 VISA gift card, a customized lei and one complimentary cake for them to take home to their families.
In addition, there was a virtual celebration bringing together all of the company’s graduates with a special message from the owners and former Los Angeles Dodger Adrian Gonzalez, who shared a few words for the students.
In the video, he reminded the class of 2020 they are a “unique and strong generation for having overcome many challenges to get here.”
This year, Northgate Market had four college graduates and one student graduating with an MBA from USC.
“The virus could not diminish the pride we have in these students,” said Oscar González, co-president of Northgate Market. “We see our associates as part of our extended family, and we were happy to share in the excitement of their graduation.”
Founded in 1980, Northgate González Market is an authentic, family-owned and operated Hispanic supermarket chain with 41 stores in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego counties. Headquartered in Anaheim, California, the company furthers its commitment to its communities through the González Reynoso Family Foundation, which provides scholarships and assists families in need.