Hispanic Heritage Month is here! (September 15 – October 15). Every year, I think about how grocers might create an atmosphere in their stores that celebrate their Hispanic shoppers and brings the Hispanic celebration of life to all their shoppers.
I experienced the Hispanic celebration of life through food (and Tequila) on a business trip I made to Mexico five years ago. I have also witnessed it in the Hispanic grocery chain Northgate Gonzalez, here in the U.S.
Photos pop up in my social media memories of the trip I took to Mexico five years ago, along with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Our mission was to help empower women in agriculture in Mexico.
This trip resulted from a memorandum of understanding that the agriculture departments in Minnesota and Mexico had signed. It was an honor to be asked to participate as a representative of the U.S. dairy industry and to travel around the country of Mexico and speak to women farmers, some of whom had traveled for hours to reach the universities where we were speaking.
I wrote a daily blog during this trip, and I am so thankful I did as the memories have begun to fade of what occurred each day. However, what has not faded is the general impression I was left from visiting parts of Mexico that were not tourist destinations.
We had the opportunity to travel to Mexico City, Puebla, Guadalajara, and Tuxtla Gutierrez, which is only 225 miles from the border of Guatemala. Never in my life did I think these would be places I would ever visit. What was really amazing about this trip was to see the “everyday life” of people living in Mexico; it was not a hotel, resort, or vacation life.
I left Mexico with such warm feelings for the people, their generosity, their friendliness, and a longing for the joy of life they celebrated with their attitude and good food and drink and experiences.
People were celebrating every place we visited, including universities, grocery stores, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, town squares, and markets. We were in Tuxtla on a Friday night, and our hosts from Sagarpa (the Mexican government equivalent to our USDA) took us to the town square.
There, we found what looked like a festival or fair, which we might have once a year in our own hometowns. However, when I inquired about what the celebration was for, the answer was because it was Friday night. This celebration takes place EVERY Friday night in the Tuxtla town square. It’s a celebration to welcome the start of the weekend!
People were everywhere; a band was playing in a gazebo; people were dancing to all types of music; the attendees were dressed impeccably with what I would call their “Sunday best”; and there was food available everywhere.
It was here where I first tried Mexican street corn. It was made fresh in front of us, in a large cauldron on the sidewalk, and it was full of luscious dairy products, including sour cream and lots of cotija cheese!! What a delicacy.
So, what is the take-away from my visit to Mexico, and what does it mean for your business? While I had a very jam-packed week of presentations and meetings, what I remember most about this trip is the food and the joy celebrated at each of our meals together and at that Friday night welcoming of the weekend ahead, and most importantly, how each of those experiences brought me joy.
Think about how you might be able to create memorable experiences for your shoppers or your customers, not just during the Hispanic Heritage Month but all year long.
How will your business stand out when so many retail businesses and products are so similar in their offerings and benefits? Create an experience that your shoppers and customers will never forget and one for which they will return repeatedly.
If you are interested in my trip to Mexico, here is a link to my blog: https://dairyfuelsmeup.wordpress.com/