The supermarket world lost one of its independent pioneers as Miguel Gonzalez, one of the founders and owners of Vallarta Supermarkets, died Nov. 23 as a result of an automobile accident.
His death was announced in a press release on Dec. 23.
Gonzalez, 56, was known for his charismatic personality. Many business associates knew him as a grocery store entrepreneur but may not have known his other passions, which led up to his success in building a legacy within the grocery industry.
After graduating from Van Nuys High School, he had an eye for buildings and design. He pursued his passion in architecture and received his Associates in Arts degree.
His love for architecture and interior design greatly enhanced the flavor and ambiance within the Vallarta Supermarkets experience, as seen in the facades, colors, lines and angles within the stores. In many instances, this created a fusion blend of modern and nostalgic references to his hometown, Jalostotitlan, Jalisco, Mexico.
As a young man, Gonzalez worked at Jet Propulsion Laboratories in Pasadena, California, as a quality assurance technician ensuring the highest tolerances were attained in space shuttle components. He left a career at JPL to kickstart Vallarta Supermarkets with his family.
His strong work ethic and meticulous attention to detail increased and sharpened as he and his executive team redesigned and built future store locations, constantly improving and adjusting to technology and retail sales efficiencies for a pleasant shopping and work experience.
Gonzalez’s passion in building the Vallarta Supermarkets family business was contagious, and he corralled anyone he could partner with to enjoy the journey. On record, he was 56 years young, however his youthful personality reflected that of an exuberant 20-year-old who enjoyed life.
His life motto was “work hard and play harder” and shared enjoying life to the fullest with all.
His most recent creation, Sayulita Tap Room (established October 2020 in the Indio, California, store location), epitomizes his vision of melding the following: spending quality time with loved ones, excellent food and drinks, exciting entertainment and live music all within an environment to make lasting memories.
His legacy will live on within Vallarta Supermarkets.
He leaves behind his high school sweetheart and wife, Maria Teresa, his two sons: Christian and Luis Angel; and granddaughter, Aria Soleil (of Christian and Roxy – born June 2021); in addition to his mother (Eva), his father (Felix) and his brother, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles.
Many team members have worked alongside Miguel and the Gonzalez family for several decades.
Founded in 1985, Vallarta Supermarkets is a full-service independent grocery chain with 53 locations throughout California. Visit vallartasupermarkets.com for additional information.