Walmart, Mi Pueblo Food Centers Win 2009 Hispanic Retail Excellence Awards

One is the largest retailer in the world, the other a 12-store, northern California independent. But the one thing they have in common is a strong commitment to serve the fast-growing Hispanic community in the United States.

Walmart, the international giant based in Bentonville, Ark., and Mi Pueblo Food Centers, the San Jose, Calif.-based Latin American supermarket founded by Juvenal Chavez in 1991, will receive 2009 Hispanic Retail Excellence Awards later this year at the fifth Hispanic Retail 360 Summit, scheduled for Aug. 9 to Aug. 11 in Las Vegas.

Earlier this year, Walmart unveiled its first Supermercado de Walmart in Houston, featuring a new layout and product assortment designed to make it more relevant to local Hispanic customers. Jose Antonio Fernandez, VP of business development for Walmart, who will accept the award with Santiago Roces, senior VP of small formats, described Supermercado de Walmart as an evolution of Walmart’s ongoing efforts to be more relevant to its Hispanic customers. Through Walmart’s “Store of the Community” program, stores are merchandised to meet the diverse needs of local customers in each community. “We’ve listened to our customers and have designed the store to include the products and services they need and want,” said Fernandez upon the opening of the new location.

The 39,000-square-foot store carries approximately 13,000 products, including a wide assortment of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables and a bakery that offers more than 40 traditional sweet breads and fresh corn tortillas. The store’s meat department features specialty meats such as milanesa, diezmillo, fajitas, chuleta de cerdo, carnes marinadas and arrachera, to meet the specific preferences of local Hispanic customers.

The store also features an in-store cocina serving traditional Hispanic food like tacos, tortas, aguas frescas, sopes, carnitas and barbacoa, and has a family seating area, a pharmacy, a Walmart MoneyCenter, a baby center and a party center.

Mi Pueblo Food Centers -- named the winner of one of Progressive Grocer’s Outstanding Independents Awards earlier this year -- is described by many industry observers as a model that sets the standards for other retailers to improve their focus on the Hispanic customer. “I’m not in the grocery business. I’m in the people business,” said founder, chairman and CEO Chavez earlier this year. “Los valores de la familia” or “family values” set this San Jose, Calif.-based independent apart from other retailers. Chavez and his management team have the nuts and bolts of merchandising to Hispanics down cold, according to executives who voted for the retailer in this year’s awards survey.

In addition to accepting the Hispanic Retail Excellence Award, Chavez will also participate in a special retailer best practices panel on Aug. 11 during the Hispanic Retail 360 Summit.

The awards are based on a poll of more than 1,000 Hispanic-focused retailer and supplier executives, including members of the conference’s 22-company Retailer Advisory Board. They are designed to recognize leadership among retailers targeting the growing Latino population. Recipients were asked to write in the name of the retailer that “has done the most in the past year to win the hearts, minds and spending dollars of Hispanic consumers.”

Previous award winners have included a wide spectrum of retailers, among them huge chains such as Target Stores; regional grocers and drug chains such as Jewel/Osco, Hy-Vee, and Long’s; specialty chains like Best Buy; convenience store chains like 7-Eleven; and independent grocers such as Pro’s Ranch Market and JAX Markets.

Being held at the Venetian Hotel, the Hispanic Retail 360 Summit will kick off on Sunday, Aug. 9, with a keynote by Teresa Iglesias-Solomon, VP of Hispanic initiatives for Best Buy, followed by a presentation from Cindy Nuñez-Hasman, multicultural marketing manager for Ace Hardware Corp., and José Gonzalez, partner, Revolucion. They will present a case study on Ace’s first foray into Hispanic marketing and provide five “surefire tips” every retailer can use to increase Hispanic footsteps in their stores. Nuñez-Hasman is a bilingual senior manager with a strong record of success with advertising agencies such as WPP’s Bravo Group, and retailers including Sears Roebuck & Co.

In addition, retail and multicultural experts from Nielsen, the world’s largest marketing and media information company, will debut research from the firm’s new national Hispanic household panel about how Latino households are faring in these difficult economic times. They will also provide insights on key areas of focus for retailers and suppliers to be successful with Hispanic consumers in a recessionary economy.

Also on the agenda is an impressive lineup of speakers from retailers, consumer product goods manufacturers and leading multicultural marketing authors, consultants and agencies, including a special retailer panel, moderated by strategic analyst Art Turock. The panel will explore innovation in addressing Hispanic shoppers through “how-to” stories and advance insights from prominent retailers that are leaders in serving Latino shoppers. Panelists include Tracy Krogstie, marketing and promotions manager for Jewel-Osco; Jose Amaya, director of diversity for Hy-Vee, Inc.; and Marco Orozco, territory Hispanic market manager, Southwest USA and Hawaii, Best Buy.

Last year’s summit, held in Miami, attracted approximately 400 attendees composed of retailers from across all channels of retailing, major consumer products goods (CPG) manufacturers, advertising agencies and consultants.

Attendees included representatives from such major retailers as Walmart, Best Buy, Publix, Winn-Dixie, Family Dollar, Supervalu, Navarro Discount Pharmacies, CVS, Advance Auto Parts, Hy-Vee Supermarkets and Kroger.

Hispanic Retail 360 is the retail industry’s only conference designed to give retailers the tools and insights they need to grow their business with the Latino consumer market in the United States. The summit is produced by Progressive Grocer and Convenience Store News, two leading media brands owned by Nielsen Business Media. Brandweek is a one of several media sponsors.

For the fifth consecutive year, Coca-Cola is the presenting sponsor for Hispanic Retail 360 Summit. Other sponsors include Geoscape and Café Bustelo. To learn more about the many levels of available sponsorship opportunities, please contact Michael Hatherill at 646-654-7501, or at [email protected].

For more information or to register, go to

- Nielsen Business Media
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