Miguel Gonzalez (far right) is one of five brothers who help found Vallarta Supermarkets. Photo via Vallarta

published on December 23, 2021 - 12:00 PM
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The supermarket world lost one of its great independent pioneers. Miguel Gonzalez, 56, one of the founders and owners of Vallarta Supermarkets, passed away on Nov. 23 as a result of an automobile accident. Miguel was known for his winsome smile and a twinkle in his eye that reflected his charismatic personality; one that brought joy and excitement to all who would share experiences with him.  Many business associates knew Miguel as a grocery store entrepreneur but may not have known his other passions which lead up to his success in building a legacy within the grocery industry.  

While based in Southern California, Vallarta Supermarkets has expanded to 52 locations across the state, including seven Central Valley stores — one in Madera, three in Fresno and three in Tulare County.

After graduating from Van Nuys High School, he had an eye for buildings and design and pursued his passion in architecture and received his Associates in Arts Degree.  His love for architecture and interior design greatly enhanced the flavor and ambiance within the Vallarta Supermarkets experience for all shoppers to enjoy as seen in the facades, colors, lines and angles within the stores. In many instances creating a fusion blend of modern and nostalgic references to his hometown, Jalostotitlan, Jalisco, Mexico.  As a young man, Miguel worked at Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL) in Pasadena, CA as a Quality Assurance Technician ensuring the highest tolerances were attained in space shuttle components. He left a promising career at JPL to kickstart Vallarta Supermarkets with his family. His strong work ethic and meticulous attention to detail increased and sharpened as he and his executive team redesigned and built future store locations, constantly improving and adjusting to technology and retail sales efficiencies for a pleasant shopping and work experience.

Miguel’s passion in building the Vallarta Supermarkets family business was contagious and he corralled anyone he could partner with to enjoy the journey. On record he was 56 years young, however his youthful personality reflected that of an exuberant 20-year-old who enjoyed life. His life motto was “Work hard and Play harder” and shared enjoying life to the fullest with all.  Working with Miguel required his staff running on tippy toes to keep up with his excitement and energy to offer excellent services and quality products to customers.

Miguel’s most recent creation, Sayulita Tap Room (established October 2020 in the Indio, CA store location), epitomizes his vision of melding the following: spending quality time with loved ones, excellent food and drinks, exciting entertainment and live music all within an exhilarating environment to make lasting memories.

Miguel will be missed; however, his legacy will live on within Vallarta Supermarkets.  Miguel leaves behind his high school sweetheart and wife, Maria Teresa, his two sons: Christian and Luis Angel, and granddaughter, Aria Soleil (of Christian and Roxy- born June 2021) in addition to his mother (Eva), his father (Felix) and his brother, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles. Many Team Members have worked alongside Miguel and the Gonzalez Family for several decades.  He will be truly missed; may you rest in peace.

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