Vallarta Food Enterprises (2017)

Pasadena, Ca

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Vallarta Supermarket “Vallarta”, a Latino owned and controlled company acquired the lease of a 49,870 sf former Vons Grocery in a severely distressed low-income community in Pasadena, CA. Vons closed this store a year earlier due to changing demographics and declining sales. Vallarta’s willingness to purchase the lease, completely renovate and open the new store is emblematic of their commitment to serving blighted and minority communities to provide healthy food options in areas designated as USDA Food Deserts. Vallarta now offers a full range of healthy foods to this severely distressed, low income and predominately Hispanic community. The new store offers grocery staples that reflect the multicultural food traditions of the Hispanic and other minority communities living nearby. By increasing access to nutritious, culturally appropriate foods, Vallarta is directly addressing the prevalence of diet related disease while also strengthening the community through increased networks and community involvement. Vallarta Pasadena also provides a new pharmacy, in store bank branch (Wells Fargo) and other food businesses in a neighborhood that has witnessed the rapid outward migration of stores offering healthy foods and services including both Walmart and Vons within the 12 months immediately preceding the opening of this beautiful new store.

This was a single-CDE transaction with NMCC/TELACU providing a $9 million QEI. Chase Bank is the NMTC Investor. NMTC was needed to support the full scope of Vallarta’s large-scale investment to reposition the former Vons store in this underserved, severely distressed low-income community. The new Vallarta store has enhanced the community’s economy, creating 80 construction and 182 permanent jobs, many of which went to residents of this low-income community who now have living wage permanent jobs with educational training and advancement opportunities. Nearly 80% of the jobs created from this Project have been filled by low-income persons, minorities and residents of the surrounding community who were previously either underemployed or unemployed. Full time employees receive employment benefits including healthcare, dental, vision insurance and other benefits such as retirement plans and sick time off. Now in full operation, Vallarta Pasadena has been very well received in the local community. The bustling and beautiful store has become a focal point for this predominately Hispanic community. Vallarta now provides a full range of healthy food choices and other important goods and services to this severely distressed low-income community. Although challenging and very costly, Vallarta brings a new approach to these communities investing significant capital and becoming highly involved in the local community.

Voices from the Community

The NMTC allows us to provide capital to projects that meet a critical need, be it jobs, health services, transitional housing, youth programs, community goods, et al, in a low-income community and that without the NMTC would not move forward. The projects also serve as a catalyst for further investment in low-income communities which serve to build the assets, both human and physical, of the community.

Jose Villalobos, Senior Vice President, TELACU, Los Angeles, CA

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