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PASCO, Wash. -- Fiesta Foods, a single-store independent here specializing in authentic Mexican food, is expanding in its home state by building two new stores in the Yakima Valley, a 44,000-square-foot Sunnyside location slated to open in May, and a 43,000-square-footer in Yakima, which is scheduled to open in September, according to a local press report.
"I researched all the markets, so I knew the Valley was a good place to be," Fiesta Foods owner Gaylord told the Yakima Herald-Republic. The first Fiesta Foods store, which employs about 120 people, opened in 2003. According to the 2000 census, the Yakima Valley's Hispanic population was 36 percent and rising.
However, not all of Fiesta Foods' shoppers are Latino. "In Pasco at the start, about 98 percent of our customers were Hispanic," noted Gaylord. "Now it's probably 85 percent. What we're seeing is Anglos coming in and saying, 'Hey, this is great Mexican food at competitive prices and it's in my neighborhood."
In addition to Mexican foods made from scratch -- the store is the only one in the Northwest to cook and grind the corn for its tortillas, according to Gaylord -- Fiesta Foods carries all of the non-Hispanic brands featured in mainstream supermarkets.
Construction is already in progress on the Sunnyside store, and work on the Yakima location is set to start early next month, following the demolition of an auto parts store. Gaylord says he plans initially to hire of 150 to 160 employees at each store. The company offers a profit-sharing plan for workers.
The Sunnyside store will be located in Mid Valley Mall, replacing another supermarket. The mall is investing $2 million into the project, while Fiesta Foods puts up another $2.5 million. The Yakima location will be on a five-acre site and cost approximately $6 million.