With growing living options in Downtown El Paso (DTEP), many concerns center on whether area businesses exist that meet the needs of residents, specifically: grocery stores. Besides the CVS Pharmacy (201 N. Mesa) and the Walgreen’s (302 S. Oregon St.) already in DTEP, below are a colorful collection of grocery options minutes away from every DTEP district.
We spoke with Ria Market (204 N. Oregon) owner Rosa Urbina and a few customers when we went out to explore the various downtown super markets.
The Ria Market, open since 2009 was previously the home of a Jordan Products business. Rosa, her sister and brother-in-law saw an opportunity to invest in a business together and opened Ria Market in the Las Plaza Arts District. Casually tucked across the street from Café Central and seconds away from San Jacinto Plaza, the market bustles with diverse customers. Rosa told us everyone from lawyers, bankers, construction workers, and senior citizens go there.
Educated in accounting, Rosa now applies her skills to the business. Her and her sister grew up in the grocery business, “Our parents owned a grocery store in Juarez, Mexico,” she told us.
As kids the pair used to play hide and seek under the fruit and vegetable stands among other ideal places, “There were these glass displays that we would fill with candy. That’s where my sister and I would hide when we were very little,” Rosa said with nostalgia in her voice.
On the future of Ria Market: “We’re always looking to see what we’re going to do next. If we’re going to expand or bring in more products, but it’s beautiful to see that our customers keep coming back.”
The Ruidoso Super Market is on 525 S. Stanton and has been in business since 1934. One thing most of these markets have in common is the proud patina that marks each façade. Inside we found Alicia Holguin, a woman who came from the Ysleta district of El Paso specifically looking for barbacoa (a type of beef used in Mexican dishes). She told us she has been coming to Ruidoso Super Market for over 10 years. Alicia rides the bus on her visits downtown and runs errands while in the El Centro District. “Right now I came to cut my hair, buy things and pay bills too. Everything is here,” she said.
A few blocks south, also on Stanton Street is Mata’s Fruit Store (a full service super market-826 S. Stanton St.). Owner Carlos Mata told us the business started as a fruit stand, and was purchased by the family in the 1950’s. Inside, the store is kinetic, and sedates your senses with the pleasant aroma’s stemming from the Tortilleria making fresh tortillas in the back, the fresh produce, the meats marinated in-house, and bakery that not only offers traditional sweet bread but made to order wedding and birthday cakes as well.
Celeste Gutierrez has been going to Mata’s for six years and likes buying her fruits and vegetables there. She is a downtown resident and walks to Mata’s for all her grocery needs. Today she is getting ingredients to make a mariscos (shrimp) recipe that originated from Durango, Mexico where her Mother is from. “The cashiers know me already, they treat people here very well,” Celeste told us.
Silva’s Supermarket (1000 S. Stanton) has been serving the downtown community for over 85 years. Four generations have provided top quality grocery services to the community. Parking into the market you can see international travelers go to and from one country to the other at the bridge to Mexico.
Everyone we spoke to told us Silva’s is known for the quality of their meats. Indeed, as you walk up to the meat market, the sheer vastness of the display counter is daunting. It was there we met Jobita Hernandez, a customer that expressly walks from Mesa Street, north of I-10 to purchase her meats here. Otherwise, she pays to have the rest of her groceries delivered to her house from Silva’s. “I make steaks, pork, and Chili Colorado,” said Jobita.