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    Calif. Hispanic Chain Vallarta Buys DC to Keep Pace with Growth

    The Hispanic specialty grocer just opened 26th unit, and needed a more central HQdepot complex.

    Vallarta Supermarkets Inc., a growing force in the Hispanic market in California, is moving its headquarters from the San Fernando Valley to Sylmar. The grocer, with 26 stores in southern and central California, bought an 89,693-square-foot building complex to house both its corporate home and distribution center in the "Golden Triangle," the intersection of the 5, 118, and 210 freeways.

    "The new, larger warehouse will allow us to improve distribution to our stores and hopefully reduce transportation costs," John Marquis, Vallarta's general manager told Progressive Grocer yesterday. "The warehouse is centrally located and will help if we need to bring in product directly to the warehouse that is not available through distributors."

    Marquis said the company's current warehouse was too small to allow this option. Vallarta is currently renting space in San Fernando, and had been looking for something to buy for five years, he noted.

    "Our company is growing rapidly," Marquis said. "All our locations are 40-50,000 square feet with full grocery. We have tapped into a market niche that had been underserved."

    He pointed to the recent opening of Vallarta's 26th store as a sign of the company's growth.

    The grocer is expected to move into the complex this fall. The 4.3-acre campus includes one building built in 1966 and one built in 1999, according to David Hoffberg, senior vice president of Van Nuys, Calif.-based Delphi Business Properties. The purchase price was not disclosed.

    Features of the new combination headquarters/distribution center facility include 10 dock high doors, 14,110 square feet of office space, 24 feet of minimum clear height in one of the buildings, and on-site parking for 150 cars.

    Founded in 1985, Vallarta Supermarkets caters to the growing Hispanic population in California, by stocking items not always found at other supermarkets. The chain recently expanded to the San Joaquin Valley. Vallarta sells fresh produce, has full-service meat departments, and in-store taquerias in most locations.

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