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Garcia Food expanding into Brawley

January 28, 2002|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — Garcia Food, a locally owned supermarket company with stores in Calexico and El Centro, will soon expand into this city, taking over the building that housed Southwest Supermercado.

Yoli G. Cordero, a co-owner of the family business, said she is confident Garcia Food will succeed in Brawley, adding the family has invested $1 million in the project.

The store is expected to open in 60 days and will provide about 40 jobs. Cordero said she would like the majority of the employees to come from the Brawley area.

The Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program is screening applicants for the company.

Garcia Food will be on Rio Vista Avenue and E Street in Brawley. The 25,000 square-foot building had housed a Southwest Supermercado since 1998.

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In November the Arizona-based Southwest Supermarkets closed its Brawley store, the last of three stores the company opened in the Imperial Valley.

Two other stores opened in El Centro in 1998, but the company closed those stores by the end of that year, citing a lack of performance.

The company closed its Brawley store after declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to Brawley officials.

With the Southwest Supermercado closure, Cordero said her family bought the building and the property and already has gone to work on renovations.

Garcia Food will open across the street from the Rio Vista Center, which is going to be the new home of Vons in Brawley.

Cordero said she is not concerned about proximity of her business to Vons. She said there is a market for both supermarkets.

"They have their niche and we have ours," Cordero said, adding, "We are bringing a Hispanic style of produce and food that our clientele looks for."

She said the store will feature a 60-foot meat counter and a large produce section.

Garcia Food was opened in Calexico in 1985 by Andres L. Garcia and his wife, Estella. In 1990 the company opened the Garcia Center in Calexico.

In 1994 the family expanded into El Centro, opening a Garcia Food on Fourth Street and Ross Avenue in what is now a second Garcia Center.

Brawley officials said they are happy to have Garcia Food open a store in the city.

"I think they will complement the businesses in Brawley," said Tim Kelley, executive director of the Brawley Economic Development Commission.

Kelley added, "The timing is excellent with the future growth that we are starting to see."

Brawley City Manager Jerry Santillan said, "We are certainly glad they chose Brawley. They are looking at growth potentials."

Santillan said with the new beef plant and new housing projects under development, Garcia Food owners saw a market in the city.

"It will be a good partnership," Santillan added.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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