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Neighborhood supermarket retains quaint charms

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A family owned Hobbs grocery store still has its neighborhood feel and cultural appeal after a complete makeover that has customers buzzing.

The owners and employees of La Tienda and guests celebrated an extensive remodeling of the 30,000-square-foot grocery store Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting in the store’s foyer where a new wood-style floor has been laid.

Lea County Commissioner Jonathan Sena said the owners of La Tienda — Dale Carter and his son, Tommy Carter — have contributed greatly to the community since the supermarket opened in 1988.

“Many years ago, my dad was building a little country church in Denver City,” Sena said at the ribbon-cutting. “My dad told me about a Mr. (Dale) Carter who came down the street with hammer and nails and was hammering and nailing with the rest of us. I never forgot that, a man who cares enough about a community to roll up his sleeves and get involved. That touched my heart and I never forgot that.”

Sena said La Tienda has provided fresh and affordable foods and served the Hobbs southside community well since it opened. Sena said when his family moved to Hobbs, about eight blocks from the grocery store at 420 W. Marland St., the building was vacant.

“I remember coming in here with my friends, and coming in here with my family, because we didn’t have a whole lot of money,” Sena said. “But we could afford the good, quality food that you sold to our community, and you’ve always had great people working here. We’re grateful to you guys. We’re so honored to have you here, and we want you to continue to grow and continue to do well.”

Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting was sponsored by the Hobbs Hispano Chamber of Commerce. La Tienda was named Business of the Year in 2018 by the Hispano chamber for its service to minority and low-income customers and its extensive community involvement. The Hispano chamber presented a plaque to La Tienda Wednesday.

Dale Carter said he saw a need for a grocery store on the southside of Hobbs more than three decades ago.

“Hobbs has been good to us, they’ve supported us,” he said. “It was a wise decision.”

Tommy Carter said the store has undergone a total remodeling with little more than the existing cash registers remaining.

“We totally brought everything up to date, refrigeration, just kind of refreshed the store, revitalized the store,” Tommy Carter said. “Like dad said, the community has done such a wonderful job supporting us. We just want to give back updated technology and so forth to the community.”

Tommy Carter said the renovations have gone over well with customers. He said the store’s last renovation was about 15 years ago.

“Our customer mix is phenomenal,” he said. “We cater to all types of people. This side of the community, I mean it’s kind of their store. And they do support their store. They’re proud of it. I can’t tell you how many thank yous and how much gratitude we’ve gotten for what we’re doing right now.”

The remodeling also included adding new product lines. The first two aisles in the store have numerous Hispanic blends.

“We’re doing more of the Hispanic-type breads,” Tommy Carter said. “We’re baking now and different things like that.”

The remodeling work isn’t yet complete.

“We’re still finishing up,” Tommy Carter said. “We’re just right at being done. I’d say another week or two and we’ll be totally wrapped up.”

Tony Mendoza, store manager since 2005, said the remodeling project has been going on for about four months.

“Our customers have enjoyed and liked it, the whole experience of the store,” Mendoza said. “I feel like we get along with our customers and clientele. It’s a neighborhood grocery store, supermarket. We’ve got a whole totally different facelift to the store. It’s remodeled and looks good. It’s a new image.”

The grocery store that has about 50 employees is open 7 a.m to 9 p.m. every day except Christmas and Easter.

“We just appreciate Hobbs, New Mexico, and we look forward to taking care of their grocery needs,” Tommy Carter said. “The inside is all brand new. Come see us.”

“Come shop with us,” Mendoza added.

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