kmart
Plans are in the works for Vallarta Supermarket to take over half of the former Kmart store space on Freedom Boulevard in Watsonville. Photo: Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

A little more than two years after the former Kmart store on Freedom Boulevard closed its doors, the space will soon have a new tenant. 

Vallarta Supermarket, which has more than 50 locations throughout California—the most recent one in Salinas—will occupy half of the 100,000-square-foot building. A co-tenant, which is yet to be determined, will take the other half.

Watsonville City Councilman Jimmy Dutra, whose district includes the location at 1702 Freedom Blvd., says he took a tour recently of one of the company’s locations in Southern California. 

He describes it as “a shopping experience” that will offer everything a typical grocery store has, in addition to a flower shop, a juice bar, a restaurant, a bakery, a meat and fish market and a variety of ethnic foods including Mexican, Filipino and Portuguese. 

“They’re really big and they have a huge variety,” he said. “It’s going to have everything.”

Dutra said he is pushing the city to also make improvements to the adjacent buildings and businesses.

While the city council is tasked with overseeing zoning and ordinance changes that affect the city, Dutra said, they cannot legally deny—or approve—any business that wants to open in Watsonville and meets the requirements. 

“I know some people will be upset about another grocery store, but if companies meet the application process—the city cannot deny them a permit,” he said. 

Dutra said that the new business will hire 200 people.

“The bright side is this shopping center has been filled with blight and run down and it is about to get a new look and become vibrant again,” he said. 

Vallarta Supermarkets Chief Operations Officer Cesar Gonzalez said the store is slated to open in May.

The family-operated chain began in Van Nuys in 1985, Gonzalez said. 

He stressed that the company’s stores go beyond the “cookie cutter” stores that focus solely on Hispanic and Mexican foods.

In addition to all conventional groceries, he says, they also have specialty items including vegan and organic and fresh made sushi. 

This is in addition to Mexican and Hispanic food, the store will offer Middle Eastern, Indian, Creole, Southern Soul Food, Korean and Filipino foods. 

The store will also offer a station with made-to-order guacamole made daily from avocados cut in front of the customers.

Previous articleInmates looking to new laws for sentence reductions
Next articleMan who reportedly shot at family on Highway 1 arrested
General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA. https://pajaronian.com/r-p-reporter-honored-by-csba/

16 COMMENTS

  1. Kudos to the Watsonville Chamber of Commerce and, unquestionably, our city council and staff.

    • Please sign me up for the newsletter - Yes
  2. An Asian grocery or a grocery that also has Asian and Indian foodstuff would really help. We have to go over the hill to San Jose for the closet one.

    • Please sign me up for the newsletter - Yes
    • Hi Sandra, they claim that they will have other ethnic foods 🙃
      “This is in addition to Mexican and Hispanic food, the store will offer Middle Eastern, Indian, Creole, Southern Soul Food, Korean and Filipino foods.” Hope so, I like variety.🙂

      • Please sign me up for the newsletter - Yes
  3. I agree with Angela G
    Depressing City which slows down real growth and expansion. I mean seriously we are expected to shop at Target or go out of town to Salinas

    • Please sign me up for the newsletter - Yes
  4. Too bad it’s not Walmart, but I still am glad this store will be opening. I’ll shop there if the prices are right.

    • Please sign me up for the newsletter - Yes
  5. This is the worst decision made by the Watsonville leaders. Last thing we needed there are tons of grocery stores. The future looks horrible for Watsonville another Mexican Supermarket.

    • Please sign me up for the newsletter - No
  6. Walmart, Lowes, Target, shoot anything but another Supermarket!
    This is the worst decision made by the Watsonville leaders. Last thing we needed there are tons of grocery stores. The future looks horrible for Watsonville!

    • Please sign me up for the newsletter - No
  7. That’s what Watsonville needs another freaking Mexican store …. Like there isn’t 5 of them already ….. along with too many Starbucks and too many Mexican food restaurants…. Non diversity at all!

    • Please sign me up for the newsletter - Yes
  8. At least a Burlington. Watsonville is growing and there is only a ross and target to buy clothes.

    • Please sign me up for the newsletter - Yes

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here