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Rancho Markets opens 7th Utah location, in SLC

Published January 5, 2012 9:17 pm

Latino growth in state spurs the expansion of specialty grocer.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Rancho Markets has opened its seventh Utah location, at 900 E. 3300 South in Salt Lake City, reflecting the commercial importance of state's growing Latino population.

Although the market caters to all shoppers, most stores stock specialty products not often found in mainstream supermarkets.

Shoppers may pick up items such as the holiday bread rosca de reyes, thin-cut beef steaks for carne asada dishes and tripe, the main ingredient for menudo, a popular Mexican-style soup.

Music from Latino artists flows from store speakers, and shopping alerts and announcements are made in Spanish.

Founder Eli Madrigal launched the first Rancho Markets in June 2006 along the same 3300 South thoroughfare, at 190 East. The Ogden store opened last June.

Rancho Markets is the state's largest chain primarily serving Latinos, rivaling the four Viva Markets stores. Viva opened its first supermarket in Ogden in fall 2010.

The Rancho Markets at 900 East and Viva's store at 140 N. 900 West in the Rose Park neighborhood of Salt Lake City were former Albertsons stores and then Fresh Market supermarkets. Both mainstream chains failed to attract shoppers.

Most Rancho Markets and Viva Markets have large carnicería (meat) departments, panaderías (bakeries) and restaurants, and feature pastelería (pastries), pescadería (fish) and cremería (creams and cheeses). Viva caters to its wired customers with a smart, user-friendly website.

Recently formed chains that cater to Latinos in Utah are indications that investors think they have been underserved.

Utah's Latino population has soared by 78 percent — growing by 157,000, to 358,000 — during the past decade. That is about twice the size of Salt Lake City, according to 2010 Census data.

The head count indicates that three of every 10 new Utahns who arrived by birth or immigration during the past decade were Latino — and four of every 10 were minorities.

Overall, Latinos make up 13 percent of the state's population and 22 percent of Salt Lake City's count.

Salvador Figueroa, who manages the Rancho Markets on 900 East, said there is no formula that fits all Latino customers.

Figueroa, who came from managing stores in Southern California, said he has noticed that shoppers at the Salt Lake store don't linger as long at the restaurant, and they are more likely to grab a quick bite, such as a taco.

"I'm watching what the customers are looking for and what they are buying," he said. "Even neighborhoods can be very different."

All stores are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

dawn@sltrib.comTwitter: @DawnHouseTrib —

Rancho Markets

Locations in Salt Lake, Weber and Utah counties:

Salt Lake City • 190 E. 3300 South; 900 E. 3300 South

West Valley City • 2470 S. Redwood Road

Kearns • 4071 W. 5415 South

Magna • 8577 W. 3500 South

Ogden • 905 E. 26th St.

Provo • 1700 N. State St. —

Hours

7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Sunday