Opening a Mexican Grocery Store

The population of ethnic groups in the U.S. is continuously increasing. If you live in an area where most Mexicans came to live after leaving their country, you can cater to the basic needs of this community by opening a grocery store selling stuffs they knew from home.

Living in another country makes one nostalgic for the smell and taste that he knew back home.

If you live in an area where there are a lot of Mexicans, a grocery store that will carry Mexican goods not found in supermarkets will surely be a hit. So how do you start a grocery store?

Steps to Starting a Mexican Grocery Store

  • Find a location ideal for a grocery – a place most frequented by Mexicans because it is near where they work or where they used to pass by to go to work
  • Check whether zoning regulations in your city allows the operation of a grocery in your chosen location.
  • Inquire with the city office for the federal, state and local requirements in opening a business and the laws regulating business operations. Learn everything you need to know about taxes, employment and retailing.
  • Identify equipment you will need (cash register, refrigerators, freezers, display racks, shelves, and bins) and where you can get supplies.
  • Identify the goods you will sell.
  • Come up with financial estimates. Calculate how much you will need as startup capital, how much will your weekly and monthly revenue and expenses be, and project earnings.
  • Plan how you will get financing for your mexican grocery store.
  • Put everything in a business plan.
  • Accomplish the paper works -- enter into lease agreements for the store and contracts with manufacturers, wholesalers and distributor; get permits and licenses you will need
  • Hire salespersons if you need help in the store.
  • Order your equipment and supplies.

As an ethnic grocery store, you face a unique challenge in attracting your target customers and in surviving competitions with supermarkets that now usually carry some items for the general Hispanic population. Here are some tips in running a grocery shop suited for Mexicans.

Tips for a Mexican Grocer

  • Take advantage of the holidays and seasons to introduce seasonal food – Mexican juices and barbecue during the summer, for example
  • To survive competition with larger stores, specialize in selling goods not usually found anywhere else. Sell items you know are hard to find in mainstream stores and sell them in greater variety.
  • Sell non-food items that remind people of their home or help them continue to connect with it, like Mexican newspapers, movies, particular cooking equipment.
  • Help Mexican customers connect with each other by becoming an information center for the immigrant community – help them distribute fliers or post event ads that involve their group.
  • Spend time with customers, talk to them, give them advice and tips on how to get and do things around.

58 Comments

  • paul trujillo said on January 6, 2010
    business location will be in homestead florida and it will be a small mexican grocery store
  • Bethany said on January 9, 2010
    I wanna start one back home. There are a few mexican stores here that i can do product research on, here in ms. Its been a dream of mine for a long time ever since I first visited a mexican store
  • Gupac said on February 17, 2010
    Very easy to start a successful mexican grocery store... make them feel like in family or neighborhood... speak to them in a friendly way. Mexicans like to be services as part of the business... slang is very important. "pasele" (welcome), "que le sirvo" or "que va a llevar" (how may I help you or what do you need), "hoy tenemos en especial..." (today we have on special...) and so on, your customers will be very happy with your store.
  • jorge reyes said on March 11, 2010
    how can i open a mexican grocery store in buda, TX. US.
  • dennis chambers said on March 13, 2010
    how can i start a mexican grocery store in moscow tn 38057
  • Tony S. said on April 16, 2010
    how hard it is to get a license for a Mexican Store?
  • Jendy said on May 7, 2010
    I'm just beginning to open a mexican store in my town. In the past two years the town has populated with more mexicans and there is no mexican store around. People have to travel 100 miles or more to reach a mexican store. But my problem is that i need to get the supply in my store. How do i do this? Ask other stores? Is the taxing and all that other paper work hard? Who can teach me all the basics to the paper work that needs to be done?
  • denny said on May 8, 2010
    There is a demand of mexican grocery store in 949 washington st. franklinton, LA. 70438. please help me to open one.
  • Veronica said on May 19, 2010
    My dream has been to open a mexican store/Tortilleria for a while and now I finally want to make it real. I have been selling Mexican candy out of my vehicle by going down all the mexican barrios in my town and that is going wee but now i want to have a store. My dad is willing to put up some money to help so now what? I like some of these ideas and will use them. Help me please.
  • rodrigo duarte said on May 31, 2010
    i have my store, it's on 70 pacific st, 07105, newark, nj. It is not tough to start a mexican grocery store.
  • Joe Castillo said on June 2, 2010
    I am currently working for a chain of grocery stores, and I was thinking tonight, how about starting my own Mexican store in northern California? If you or someone you know wants to pass over a Mexican grocery store, I'll take over, with zero down, or we can work something out. I've been in a position of corporate director and know how to make grocery stores work. I am willing to partner up with someone. Thank you!
  • rafael said on October 3, 2010
    Fresno, Ca, USA. I am an importer of mexican grocery products. My family has owned small grocery stores in the past, where I have worked and managed. Yeah, I am Mexican. Email me questions or if you need anything. I know its hard sometimes to get mexican groceries, I lived in tokyo and I really missed my food, so I think its a good idea.
  • Johnny Vera said on October 28, 2010
    We are a label and tag mfg. co in Hale Center,TX and we can produce any of your labeling needs for your meat market, produce, etc. dept. We are aggressive in our pricing and hispanic owned and look forward to hearing from you. Our phone number is 806-839-2891 or email us at wtep79041@att.net Thank You, Johnny Vera
  • Noel Montoya said on November 2, 2010
    I am a grocery store operator looking for someone with strong hispanic store operational skills with strong product knowledge of what sell. I currently own three grocery stores and I am looking for investors and operators with money to come in and become partners. I am in San Jose, Ca and this is a great opportunity. Noel
  • patrick said on December 17, 2010
    contra costa county, CA. I am considering purchasing a mexican grocery store that needs to stock up and supply a bigger variety of mexican grocery items. Where can I connect with someone who can provide me with help?
  • Roberto Guerra said on January 15, 2011
    I have noticed a lot of questions about Hispanic grocery stores. I have operated several Hispanic grocery stores in Nebraska, Colorado, and Texas. I have extensive experience in all of the departments with product knowledge, schematics, ad programs, merchandising, etc. I have several sources who can locate any kind of product. I am available and open for any type of opportunity. My e-mail address is guerra.robert@hotmail.com.
  • Patti Osoria said on February 2, 2011
    I want to open business Mexican grocery store in southern ill a lot of Mexican people live here and they only have dry food no meat something like that so pls help me with that if possible!
  • Edgar said on February 18, 2011
    Hi, am a Mexican dealer of milk candy, and vanilla extract, may be i can send you some info by mail,Thanks
  • sara cervantes said on April 13, 2011
    Business location amarillo, tx united states please type in mexican store so I dont send you to spam.
  • CHASITY said on May 6, 2011
    I live in Indiana where the hispanic population is very large. I drive 70 miles to the nearest Mexican grocery store. I would very much like to open one in this area and I'm very confident that it will be a great success. I'm doing my homework so any suggestions or tips would be great.
  • Beverly Diaab said on May 9, 2011
    I live in Atlanta, Ga and am looking to gather all info needed to start a Mexican grocery store/WIC as well. I know nothing about suppliers or equipment needed and am researching the website for any leads in the right direction. Anyone out there that is willing to help, please let me hear from you asap. Thanks
  • Rosa said on May 16, 2011
    How can I open a store and how to order food and products. I am thinking about opening a mexican store with a friend. Should we lease a place or should we build a store? and In Aberdeen, NC 28315. Hispanic population is high here.
  • Juanita said on May 17, 2011
    How do I find a wholesaler to mexican stores?
  • Daniel said on May 21, 2011
    I'm in the research process of the great idea of opening a Mexican store. Anyone willing to share some ideas or do's and don'ts please help. I'm wanting to open a store in Oklahoma.
  • Carlos said on June 8, 2011
    Opening a grocery store has been a dream of mine for many years. I know of a place where a latin grocery store could thrive. I have a finance degree but, not much experience in this type of market. I've done some research and educated as to how get started and basics for the business. I need some mentoring or partnership with someone with vast experience in this field.
  • adam said on July 6, 2011
    hi i'm looking to open a Mexican store in my town and i'm having a hard time finding suppliers for merchandise if you can help with or know any good suppliers please send me an email at adam24361@yahoo.com thanks and have a great day
  • J.Himes said on August 10, 2011
    I sell mesquite charcoal from mexico to many supermarkets so if anyone needs to buy good quality good price bbq charcoal please email me jhm@zarapegrilling.com
  • Patricia L said on August 26, 2011
    I will like to know where can I get all the mexican product at a good price.
  • Martha said on September 13, 2011
    Ellensburg,WA - I am looking to invest in opening a small but very well stocked mexican store. My husband and I have recently started researching this idea, as we only have 1 other mexican store but the hours and owners are rude. I have 7 years of customer service and know many people in our small community. I have researched about permits now just need to make contact, will need to follow thought with gathering a business plan and of course the wholesalers:) any input around this area would be nice. Thanks in advance for your help
  • Sandra Botello said on October 13, 2011
    Hello my name is sandra and my sisters and mother are very interested in opening up a grocery store here in Manvel, Tx. We have found a location, but are stomped on where to proceed after that. There are no stores within 30 miles so i am confident. If anyone could point me in the direction i need to go i would appreciate it so much. please e-mail me @ sandra_botello@yahoo.com
  • Katie said on October 29, 2011
    I am interested in starting a business in South Carolina. I am looking to make contact with vendors as well as any other support. Thank you in advance for your help. ejkorvettes@gmail.com
  • Andrea said on November 14, 2011
    Hello, I am really really Interested in opening a grocery store. I mean Mexican, Guatemalan etc. Food..But I live in VA and I dont know what are the steps. I am studying administrations than I can have some Knowledge of what I am getting into it. I need to know how to get a license were to get distributors how to get them. Can I get a loan to start? everything. If anyone is willing to help me I would really appreciate it and be compensated if everything goes well. Thank you andrea171989@aol.com
  • Juan said on November 28, 2011
    Hi, I live in the Mex/USA border, so I can help you to get mexican candies supplies without extra mexican shipping cost. I can send them direct from El Paso, TX. Juan, jpalacios@strattec.com, USA PH (915) 225-9043, Juarez Chihuahua Mexico
  • Luis said on December 5, 2011
    Hi, I am trying to buy an small Latin Grocery store, it has a good clientele, never own or manage one. I need some tips on how to apply for WIC, sending money to their own country, install an small burritos, taco and other mexican good food, etc.
  • Cary Hayes said on December 27, 2011
    I am looking to open a mexican grocery store in Oklahoma and I am wondering if anyone can hook me up with the names of the suppliers that deliver in central oklahoma. I am planning to have a small grocery store in a small town in central Oklahoma that has a large hispanic population. I plan to stock a variety of items such as meat, produce beverages, canned goods...etc... Any help on locating suppliers would be greatly appreciated.
  • Brittnie said on January 14, 2012
    I am wanting to open up a mexican grocery store in Price, Utah and I want to sell fresh meats and mexican bread but cant find any wholesalers for these products please help me!! :)
  • Tom Bui said on January 15, 2012
    I currently have 20,000 sq. ft available space for a market in Fresno, Ca . It's on the busiest street & next to main post office. Anyone who is interested to open a grocery or discount store . The address is 4041 North Blackstone ave Fresno,ca, it's known for the Nursery Plaza. I can be contact at 408-829-1154.
  • Diana said on January 26, 2012
    Have plans for a Mexican Party and Rental Store. Currently live in Pampa, Tx., but need resources on how to get my products directly at lower prices from Mexico. Thank you in advance.
  • Bill said on February 22, 2012
    Hi, I just sign up a least for a grocery store today in new York city in mexcian area, is anyone can help me to find out Mexican product wholesaler or help me to fill my store, i am still empty in my mind, is anyone know how to find a fruit wholesaler or a farm in new York city area! Please. Also is anyone know how to connect to flower wholesaler company , please feel free to send a email to. Yubillwang@yahoo.com.cn. Your help is very useful to me!
  • Emma said on May 25, 2012
    I have an hispanic restaurant in louisiana and want to open a small hispsic store in the front. I am having trouble finding a wholesale company to purchase from. Anyone have any info?
  • Gina said on June 1, 2012
    @patrick, @noel, and any others looking for sources of wholesale Mexican candy in Northern California: I represent a great Mexican candy line called Sweet Little Mexico (www.sweetlittlemexico.com), and can set you up with either a volume direct wholesale program, or work with you to get these candies into a local distributor you can order from. Anyone who wants product information and wholesale pricing for these candies, please post your e-mail here and I'll send you the materials you need. If you contact the company directly, please mention that you were contacted about the candies by Gina in the Bay Area.
    Gina (wholesale candy broker). Walnut Creek, CA
  • FERNANDO said on June 19, 2012
    I WILL LIKE TO KNOW IF ANYONE KNOWS WHERE I COULD GET MOLE? AM TRYING TO OPEN UP A STORE AND WILL LIKE TO SELL MOLE LIKE THEY DO EN LOS MERCADOS. I LIVE IN VA AND NEED IT SHIPPED HERE. FFERTICO@YAHOO.COM IF YOU HAVE ANY INFO. THANKS
  • Liz A said on June 30, 2012
    Hello, I am really Interested in opening a grocery store. I live in ILLINOIS and I dont know what are the steps. I need to know how to get a license where to get distributors how to get them. Can I get a loan to start? everything. If anyone is willing to help me I would really appreciate it. Thank you jals12@att.net
  • Delia Alba said on July 6, 2012
    We own a carniceria in Nebraska and I want to expand my product line. If you have any info on distributors of hispanic groceries and candies please let me know. Thanks
  • Jenette S said on September 3, 2012
    I am looking to open a mexican grocery store in the Vail, Colorado area. I have a perfect location. I am looking for vendors, suggestions, investors etc. I will begin pursuing securing the location this week. Please email me with any suggestions etc. jenette@qwestoffice.net. thanks Jenette
  • cristina Hernandez said on September 18, 2012
    I'm selling Mexican candy and grocer hispanic to wholesales Tx, NJ, GA, Al, FL, so if anyone needs to buy good quality good price please email me valley.brokers@hotmail.com
  • Mayte Gonzalez said on October 3, 2012
    Hi, our company is located in Yucatan, we export all kind of products, fresh produce, decoration items, handcrafts, food products, etc. if you are looking for special products to your store from Mexico, contact us. gonzalez.bolio@yahoo.com We deliver to your store.
  • Cris said on January 9, 2013
    I'm opening a Mexican store soon in Southgate, Michigan. If anyone knows a good distributors and/or wholesalers of Mexican products in my area please send info to southgatedm@gmail.com
  • Daniel said on February 19, 2013
    Hello I'm the owner of a Mexican candy store in Houston tx 1777 airline dr suite D. We import all kinds of Mexican candy from Mexico. We have your piƱata candy plus the traditional candy such as pumpkin yam white pumpkin peanuts garampiƱados Dulce's de leche "milk candy" coconut white and yellow guava roll Mexican flag coconut and alfajor coconut candy if interested give us a call there is no such thing as a too big of an order we can supply your business as much as your willing to buy. Our telephone number is 713-426-6700 or 832-289-3161. We are looking for distributors all over the USA. So if your looking for an easy business where all you have to do is invest a few bucks driving from business to business dropping off product and getting paid for it then this is perfect for you. You work your own schedule.
  • lee said on May 2, 2013
    hi i have a location to open a mexican grocery/supermarket in westchester new york not familiar with products, distributors can anyone help i am open to all ideas/opportunities thank you jilee0117@gmail.com
  • Ana said on July 10, 2013
    Joe Castillo, I know a Mall in Antioch, Northern California surrounded by 35% Hispanic population which has a space for a Hispanic Store. Contact me at anihnas@yahoo.com
  • juan carlos said on January 29, 2014
    I would like to open a Mexican store in Arkansas. I have a wholesaler but they are limited on certain items. I would like to get other choice without the expensive shipping charges. If there is any companies out there that ship Mexican items at a good price please email me at carlos_tamales@yahoo.com
  • Sandra said on February 28, 2014
    I know these wholesalers in Atlanta for Mexican foods: Chi-Du-Mex, Diaz Foods, Dulceria Fiesta City, El Jarocho, Frontera Imports, Gromex, and La Tortilleria.
  • jose heredia said on March 26, 2014
    am selling dried mexican chile peppers and spices, if anyone is interested there is my email cheverejh@yahoo.com.
  • Erick said on August 20, 2014
    I am 20 years old and I have managed to save $10,000 in the past 6 months I really have this thought of opening a Mexican store. My dad loves them and I think he would really like that, I haven't told my parents because I want to do it myself. I am thinking of going to school for business and get some skills and from there go up the latter, but I need more capital. I know this. My dad already bought some property for a future home he said but I'm thinking a future Mexican store. There was a lot of property sold where he got the land and I know there's going to be a lot of Hispanics. There's nothing but hundredths of empty sold lands it's gonna grow I know it will and I want to be the guy that they go to get what they need/want to feel at home. How much capital do I need (estimation) how long till I make profit. Thanks, egonzalez775@yahoo.com
  • Jose Rivera said on December 15, 2014
    I wanted to know a ruff estimate of capital needed to lease and run a carneceria and a ruff estimate to how long I would be able to turn a profit. It would be for the Southern Ca. area.
  • Maria Gil said on June 15, 2016
    Maria0464@gmail.com in need of wholesale cheap mexican candy for my businesses in florida let me know if you know of any
  • Menyon D Garcia said on June 29, 2016
    i am looking too open a Mexican store in Virginia Beach Va, i am in need of info and info will be very helpful Thank You, Menyon Garcia

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