San Diego Grocers Northgate & Vine Ripe to Participate in Multicultural Retail 360 Cultural Immersion Tour


Hispanic supermarket chain Northgate Gonzalez Markets and Middle Eastern grocer Vine Ripe will be among the prominent retailers that will participate in this year’s Cultural Immersion Tour, one of the most popular attractions at the annual Multicultural Retail 360 Summit, being held this year in San Diego.

The tour, which kicks off the 2016 Multicultural Retail 360 Summit, involves in-person visits via chartered bus to several multicultural retailers in the San Diego area. The event will take place the morning of August 24.

While the Multicultural Retail 360 Summit itself provides case studies, valuable data and insights from leading companies and executives, the Cultural Immersion Tour allows guests to experience ethnic neighborhoods, retailers and customers on a first hand basis. In addition to unique product selections, it exposes visitors to shopping habits, consumer expectations, socio economic factors and merchandising strategies inherent to particular cultures.


Northgate Gonzalez Markets was founded in Anaheim, Calif., in January 1980 by a large immigrant family. It is one of the most successful Hispanic grocery chains in Southern California and is considered a benchmark for ethnic retailing. Catering to shoppers of all assimilation levels, offerings include bulk and packaged produce, on-site, hand-made tortillas, a cut-to-order butcher and on-site bakery. Northgate, which is participating in the Tour for the second consecutive year, will showcase one of its larger format San Diego locations.

“Northgate Gonzalez Market looks forward to another year of participating in the Multicultural Retail 360 Show,” said Mike Hendry, Northgate’s executive vice president of marketing and merchandising. “In this larger format store, you will find everything from fresh, authentically prepared foods from Mexico and Latin America to one of the widest varieties of fresh meat and seafood in the county. Bring your wallet as you’ll be sure to find a new salsa or tequila – we offer one of the widest selections in Southern California!”

Northgate also offers financial and other services, including check cashing, bill payment and personal loans. Many customers do not have bank accounts. On the health and wellness end, its Viva la Salud  (“Living Healthy”) initiative provides bi-lingual product labels outlining nutritional benefits. Easy-to-read graphics make labels more comprehensible to customers who have low English comprehension and/or limited formal education.


The visit to Vine Ripe Farmer’s Market in La Mesa, Calif., marks the first time a Middle Eastern grocer has participated in the tour. This is significant, given that California is home to more than 715,000 Arab-Americans, who live in large communities in Alameda, Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Orange, San Bernardino and San Diego.

Roughly half a million Iranian-Americans reside in Southern California. Communities include Beverly Hills, Orange County, San Diego, the Palm Springs area, and the San Joaquin Valley. San Diego also has one of the largest concentrations of Chaldean immigrants in the United States.

Vine Ripe’s Middle Eastern and Mediterranean offerings include grocery and deli items, organic produce, Halal foods and a selection of everyday American goods. The dairy department includes products like paneer, sweet cheese, imported cheese, labne, kefir and a number of yogurt drinks. Also tempting the palette is a wide assortment of Turkish baked goods and a salad bar offering everyday items along with favorites such as tabbouleh, tzatziki, baba ghanoush, hummus and dolma.

Most recently, the retailer added a made-to-order fresh juice bar. This will soon be joined by a wine room.

At least two more retailers will be added to the store tour, with details to be announced shortly.

Please note there is a separate registration fee for the Cultural Immersion Tour. You may register for the tour at the same time that you register for the conference at

For more information on these retailers, please visit:

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