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Vista Markets Serves Evolving El Paso With Plentiful Perishables

Vista Markets

Vista Markets started out in the early 1980s as a small, standalone bakery in El Paso, Texas. At the time, it was operated by owner Mike Piña and just two employees. 

Through the years, Mike’s brothers, Oscar and Armando, joined the business. In 1987, they opened their first small supermarket with a bakery. Today, Vista Markets serves the El Paso community with seven stores and an eighth location is in the works. 

Vista Markets

For those who are not familiar with the western most region of Texas, Piña summarized the area in two words – “very complex.” Still at the helm after three decades of operation, Piña has seen a distinct shift in his customer base throughout his tenure but most dramatically in the past several years. 

He described his customer base as largely Hispanic, adding that the market has become more affluent since he first opened. Piña said disposable income has increased as more people have graduated from college.

“After operating seven stores in the city for more than 30 years, we noticed that even though we cater to the Hispanic market the area is constantly evolving,” Piña said. “It is extremely important to me that we tailor our offerings to our loyal customers, but we are always challenging ourselves on how we can attract new customers as well.”

Piña pointed out that the growing El Paso population has drawn an influx of retailers recently. This means his customers have plenty of options when it comes to grocery shopping with Walmart, Albertsons and Sprouts all nearby, as well as an increasing number of specialty markets. 

To stand out, Piña focuses on creating a neighborhood feel in his stores. “We provide great service and a friendly shopping environment for our customers,” he said. 

He also sets his stores apart by focusing on differentiating his assortment and knowing who and what his customers want.

For someone who has never been to Vista Markets, Piña described the store’s concept as “a traditional Hispanic market with a modern twist.” 

When customers walk into one of his stores, they find a substantial grocery section, along with fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, organic and allergy-friendly options and a diverse selection of international and specialty items. But the real “head turner,” as Piña refers to it, is the number of perishable foods offered in comparison to the store’s size. 

“We take pride in our perishable foods, including our produce, prepared Hispanic foods, tortillería, meat market and bakery,” he said, adding that 50 percent of the store’s square footage is dedicated to perishable goods. 

Vista Markets

In addition to its famous specialty flour tortillas, Vista Markets offers a wide variety of pastries – everything from traditional Hispanic offerings to croissants, muffins and doughnuts.

“Our customers are drawn to our fresh baked goods, savory prepared foods that include brisket, chile con queso and a burrito station. For many, it resembles the homemade Hispanic food they grew up with,” he said. 

Competitive edge

Piña’s seven stores under the Vista Markets banner range in size from 20,000 to 45,000 square feet, which means he needs to make every inch count. Working with Affiliated Foods Inc. of Amarillo, Texas, Piña added, has allowed him to provide competitive pricing for his customers. 

“Keeping our prices inline is one of the biggest pledges we have made to our customers. We owe our success to them, which is why giving back to our community is an integral part of our business,” Piña said. 

While some operators may choose to focus on a particular socio-economic segment of customers, Vista Markets looks to attract a broad customer base. 

“One thing that makes us stand out is that we cater to customers from all backgrounds. Every customer is unique, but one thing that they collectively yearn for is local, fresh, quality goods,” Piña noted. 

“Whether customers are looking for something sweet or savory, they can always count on our delicious, locally made products.”

Extras services

Vista Markets currently offers online ordering at a few locations, and Piña is working on expanding that service across all locations. 

“We want shopping to be as easy and convenient as possible,” he said. “Customers can browse our wide range of products online, create their shopping list and have everything delivered right to their doorstep. No more waiting in long lines or searching for parking spaces.”

Vista Markets

Taking an eco-friendly approach is important to Piña. 

“We care about our environment, so we prioritize sustainable practices in our packaging, delivery and sourcing processes,” he said. “We want our customers to know that when they shop with Vista Markets, they are joining us in supporting a greener future.”

Thirty years under his belt is an impressive run, but Piña is not content to rest on his success. In addition to serving his customers and working to protect the environment, he is also committed to helping the community. Piña and his team partner with local businesses and contribute to various charitable initiatives. 

“When people shop with us, they are helping to make a positive impact on the community we all share,” he said.

Above all, Piña said Vista Markets is all about offering customers a personal touch. 

“We understand that every shopper has unique needs and preferences. That is why we are always working to learn more about what they like, so we can make their shopping experience even better,” he said. “This is something we will never stop doing.”

Piña and his team are excited to break ground in the coming weeks on the company’s newest addition. A 45,000-square-foot Vista Markets is being built on El Paso’s east side in what Piña describes as one of the fastest growing residential neighborhoods. If all goes on schedule, the store is slated to open at the end of 2024.

Read more market profiles from The Shelby Report.

About the author

Carol Radice

Senior Content Creator

Carol joins The Shelby Report with more than 25 years writing for B2B magazines that cover the drugstore and supermarket industries. A Rutgers graduate, she earned her B.A. degree in journalism and mass communications more years ago than she cares to admit. She is thrilled to be working with such an accomplished team and to share her knowledge of the industry with Shelby’s readers.

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