By LESLIE COLLINS
August 21, 2013
Demographics are changing in Historic Northeast and Cosentino’s Food Stores is paying attention.
With more Hispanics moving into the neighborhood, the company decided it was time to revamp the Apple Market grocery store, 3719 Independence Ave., and transform it into a full-line Hispanic grocery store.
“We’ve talked about this on and off for years,” said John Cosentino, vice president of Cosentino’s Food Stores, whose family grew up in the Historic Northeast.
Through a demographic study, Cosentino’s learned that about 20,000 Hispanics lived within a three-mile radius of the Independence Avenue store.
“We felt like it was time to do something different,” he said. “We are in the business to provide the store the customer wants and that’s what we felt like we needed to do in this area.”
The grocery store has been re-named “Mi Mercado,” which means “My Market.” The name mirrors the grocery store downtown called the “Market,” he said.
“We’ve got the square footage to do everything this culture wants,” Cosentino said. “We think we’ve done something a little unique in that aspect.”
While there are bodegas and other smaller Hispanic inspired markets, never has Kansas City seen a full-line Hispanic grocery store, he said.
For two and a half weeks, crews remodeled the inside, installing new flooring, creating more attractive displays and lining the walls with inviting artwork. Beside the taqueria, crews created picnic style seating with red-checkered tablecloths.
The meat department features a 40-foot long case filled with everything from chicken’s feet to cow tongue. Then, there’s the taqueria which features 20-feet of hot and cold foods, including a variety of salsas.
Mi Mercado launched a soft opening last week and held its official grand opening ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 17. As customers continue to check out the remodeled store, feedback has been positive.
“We’ve had a lot of people say, ‘Thank you, this is what we’ve always wanted. Nobody’s ever went this far for us,'” he said. “It makes you feel good when you hear those kind of things… It’s an amazing transition. I’m very proud of our people for doing that and getting us to where we are.”