Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - 48

When the company looks for talent, it does not
require store experience but instead hires based
on attitude and willingness to learn.

the big-box stores are wanting a piece
of that pie."
But El Río Grande offers competitive benefits to protect its talent from
corporate titans, as well as paths for
growth. "We've had some people work
in a meat department that end up in the
marketing department," Shalabi says. 
"We do have a path for the entrepreneurial soul [who wants to be] in management," he says, noting that some
also prefer more conventional growth.
"Some people are comfortable in their
own areas."
The culture also keeps them loyal,
Shalabi adds. "It's accessible, open, creative and collaborative," he says. "We
have this great, welcoming attitude."
This philosophy has led to El Río
Grande adopting many of its employees' ideas. "We still throw stuff at the
wall and say, 'Let's try this,' which keeps
a lot of momentum within our family
in El Río, the neighborhoods that we
serve and the vendor community that
serves us," he says. 
El Río Grande will put these ideas
"in a test phase and implement them

La Vaquita
La Vaquita represents traditions handed
down through generations of Mexican homestead cheesemakers. Our Queso Fresco,
Oaxaca, Panela and Crema Mexicana bring
delicious, authentic flavor to every dish they
touch - from tacos and enchiladas to salads.

48

RETAIL-MERCHANDISER.COM

May/June 2017

later on, company-wide," Shalabi says,
noting that this gives its workers a sense
of ownership in the company.

The Best Option
El Río Grande recently opened a new
store in Mesquite, Texas, that features
its "Core Plus" approach. While the
location offers goods that appeal to its
core customer of Latin Americans, it
has added different cultures as well.
After performing a demographic study, "We added Middle Eastern
product lines," Shalabi says, noting that
this will cater to clients in the adjacent
town of Sunnyvale, Texas. Already, the
store has earned a positive reception.
"The mayor of Mesquite came in
and said, 'This is the nicest store that's
opened in Mesquite,'" he says, noting
that El Río Grande will continue growing with an organic, natural approach.
"We don't want to be another option
for our consumer," Shalabi says. "We
want to be the best option and we are
on the way to achieving that. It's a merchandising approach to be applicable to
a broader customer base that is reflective of the neighborhoods we serve."
This will be reflected in the company's marketing strategy. "The statement
is to be the premier destination for
families and provide a joyful shopping
experience with a Latin flair," Marketing Manager Ana Medina says. "We
will take care of the core customer but
be open to the new generation." O


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017

Contents
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - Intro
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - Cover1
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - Cover2
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - 1
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - Contents
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - 3
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - 4
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - 5
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Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - MCover1
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Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - M1
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