Grocer catering to Hispanic consumers buys Arlan’s Markets

Grocer catering to Hispanic consumers buys Arlan’s Markets

By LAURA ELDER The Daily News

Dec 6, 2023

A Houston-based chain catering to Hispanic consumers has acquired Arlan’s Market, one of the last of the small, family owned supermarket companies operating in the county.
Owners of La Michoacana Meat Market, which operates more than 200 stores in Texas, acquired the 15-store Arlan’s chain, said Perry Hallett, a grocery buyer for Arlan’s who will stay on with new company.

Arlan’s Market stores will retain their names and continue to carry traditional grocery store items, but will undergo renovations and improvements, Hallett said.
La Michoacana operates meat markets and grocery stores mostly in Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, but also in smaller cities such as Galveston and Texas City.
Ames Arlan, who began his grocery store career as a sacker, launched Arlan’s Market on Jan. 7, 1991.

Arlan was ready to retire after decades in the business, Hallett said.
Seabrook-based Arlan’s company survived growing competition from large chains such as H-E-B, Kroger, Randalls and Walmart and a proliferation of dollar-store concepts broadening their grocery offerings.

Large chains have the advantage of buying in bulk at cheaper rates and of circumventing wholesalers altogether by producing their own store brands, as La Michoacana stores do.

La Michoacana’s acquisition gives Arlan’s much more buying power, Hallett said.
In 2011, Arlan’s acquired family owned Big Chief Foods, 12460 state Highway 6 in Santa Fe. Arlan’s also operates a store at 513 Market St., near the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

At one time, it operated an island store at 25th Street and Avenue P, which closed after being damaged during Hurricane Ike in 2008.

In 1975, Rafael Ortega traveled from Michoacán, Mexico, to find work in U.S. meat packing plants. He had no money and didn’t speak English, according to reports.
By 1986, he was a U.S. citizen and opened a small grocery store in Houston to serve the Hispanic community “that most people hadn’t noticed.”

Today, the Ortega family operates more than 200 stores in Texas and one in Oklahoma including meat markets and traditional supermarkets under the La Michoacana name.
The company operates meat markets in Galveston and Texas City and is expanding. Last year, it acquired the 15-store Seller Bros. chain founded in 1921.

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