The Hispanic trade sector has evolved over the years and thanks to the new generations of entrepreneurs we can find different concepts and ideas that are in line with changes in consumption, generational and contact with the community.
Jenny Jorge, VP Operations of Compare Foods
This is the case of Jenny Jorge, a young entrepreneur who, thanks to the fact that much of her life has been linked to the family business, the Compare Foods supermarket chain, she knows the needs of consumers and the community in general.
Jenny, who currently serves as Vice President of Operations for Compare Foods, one of the most important Hispanic chains on the US East Coast, began working at age 15 at one of the company’s stores created by her uncle, Eligio Peña . Thanks to all the knowledge acquired after starting from the bottom working as a cashier, customer service, and even secretary, Jenny knows the Hispanic trade sector well, and today, uses all that experience to create new concepts.
“My father always taught me that in order to become a director one has to start from below. You have to know the work of other people and learn to perform their duties”, said Jenny.
For this reason, in 2014, thanks to this mixture of knowledge and youth, together with their brothers and cousins decided to create a new concept of supermarket that had a more multicultural and flexible style to adapt to the needs of the community.
She explained that the idea was that the new supermarket would have products of the highest quality, prepared meals, organic, and that would cover all the needs of both Hispanic and American consumers.
The second generation of the Peña family wanted to combine the experience of their parents with the educational level acquired by them in this country. That way Gala Fresh Farms was born “In the Heart of the Neighborhood”, which opened in 2015 in New York. In the next six months they opened four more supermarkets in the Tri-state area.
But Jenny’s road has not been easy and “nothing has been given away”. Many years of preparation, dedication, and long working days have given her the necessary experience to become who she is today: a leader in the Hispanic food and beverage industry. However, despite being a successful businesswoman today, she says that at the time of going to college she did not want to study anything related to the business world or to continue working in the family supermarket, and chose Psychology at Fordham University Lincoln Center, Manhattan, NY.
After 3 years of studies Jenny realized that, unconsciously, all the electives she took were related to business. Her future, although she had not noticed it before, was linked to the family business. In 2005 she received her degree in Psychology with a Minor in Business Administration. She also has a Master’s Degree in Accounting & Management. Despite her studies, she never stopped working at the supermarket. Once graduated, her father gave her more administrative responsibilities. With good results and arduous work, she went up to her current position.
In addition, Jenny is the third Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Freeport Chamber of Commerce, in NY, and is the only woman on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Supermarkets.
Thanks to the teachings of her father, who was always very active in the community and inculcated to be grateful in life and give to those in need, Jenny has always been involved in projects with the community. Compare Foods and Gala Fresh Farms support different organizations like the Salvation Army and children’s and adult baseball leagues. They also carry out various activities in different schools during the year and collaborate with autistic children’s care centers.
She was recently in the Dominican Republic delivering food and detergent to 800 families who lost everything in the floods on the island. “Seeing that level of desperation in the community was something that marked me for life. Seeing children crying with hunger is something I can never erase from my memory”, Jenny said, explaining that this is the reason why she is always trying to do her bit to help those in need.