It’s hard to miss the 20,000 square-foot Buenos Amigos Market at 2225 El Camino Real where the Hispanic supermarket has occupied a long stretch of space between Diver Dan’s and the SKECHERS Factory Outlet between Scott and Los Padres boulevards for the past five years, but soon another empty storefront will be all residents see.
Due to a variety of factors, notably the high cost of doing business in Santa Clara, owner Walter Javier Fuentes has made the decision to close the market’s doors and will begin liquidating his assets on April 25.
“The leases have an increase percentage every year, and when the first period of the lease finishes, you have to renegotiate the next period,” Fuentes said. “During the past five years, the property prices around the Bay Area have increased like never before. Everybody who lives in the Bay Area knows this. So, the landlord bases the rent price on the property price. If the property value goes up, the rent goes up and this is what happened here.”
“On top of that,” Fuentes continued. “The minimum wage increased considerably as well this year and when we move the prices of our products up a little bit, the customers start asking why we increased the prices. So, it’s very difficult to balance the situation.”
Fuentes said he didn’t take the decision lightly and despite some initial offers to sell the “really amazing and beautiful” store, buyers pulled out due to the market’s size and overall cost to operate.
Although Fuentes has owned the location since 2013, it hasn’t always been Buenos Amigos. Originally, the market was called John & Michael Dollar Outlet, but Fuentes switched the concept after seeing the store’s Hispanic food and produce found a customer base within Santa Clara. In addition to offering Mexican food brands like Goya, El Mexicano, Don Francisco, Jarritos Mission and La Rosa, as well as supermarket staple items, Buenos Amigos had added a fresh meat department and Mexican Taqueria over the years.
“We have almost the only Mexican fresh meat department with a butcher in the area, and we are the only store that sells fresh, homemade pork carnitas and chicharrones carnudo, in our taqueria inside the store,” said Fuentes.
Fuentes said he recently opened a smaller store at 2620 Alum Rock Ave. in San Jose where the Latino population is higher and the rents are lower, and he hopes his customers will be willing to travel, but until they do, customers are invited to say “adios” this week, when Fuentes begins his Store Closing Mega Sale Event.
“It will be a great event to enjoy with the whole family,” he said. “We’ll have huge discounts, up to 75 percent on all our products and we estimate it will last around five to six weeks, until we get everything sold. The inventory and fixtures value estimated would be over $600,000.”
“Of course, the first weeks will be the best ones,” Fuentes continued. “Because the customers will be able to find the biggest variety of products, and usually the customers keep coming and coming again, since they can find great deals on the closing store events that they can’t find anywhere else. Also, all our shelves, fixtures, displays, coolers and equipment will be on sale as well for prices never seen.”
Buenos Amigos is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Visit www.buenosamigosmarket.com for more information.