'Made in Ontario' Business Series: Cardenas Markets

The story of Cardenas Markets begins in 1981 at Riverside Drive and Vineyard Avenue in Ontario, and it is truly a ‘Made in Ontario’ story. But the inspiration of Cardenas Markets began much earlier.

In 1957, Jesus Cardenas arrived from Jalisco, Mexico to work as part of the "bracero" work program. Mr. Cardenas arrived with a commitment to work and the desire to provide a better future for his family. The years of working in the fields led him to different locations all over the state of California. He worked in Riverside, Oxnard, and the Coachella Valley. Little did he know that years later, these areas would all become prime locations for Cardenas Markets.

He fulfilled his dream of starting his own family business. His wife, Luz, is an invaluable business partner as well. Together they built the foundation for success.

They began by selling pork, poultry, chorizo and cheeses, as well as the delicious dishes from Mrs. Cardenas' home cooked recipes of the state of Jalisco in Mexico. Soon after, customers started lining up - particularly for the homemade chorizo and tortillas - and the Cardenas stores were born.

Today, Cardenas Markets is a successful company that has 29 stores across Southern California and now Las Vegas. It employs 3,000 people company wide, including 300 at its corporate headquarters in Ontario at 2501 E. Guasti Road. With this growth, Cardenas Markets has still stayed true to its roots. According to its website:

[quote]"At Cardenas Markets, our customers are part of the family. Our commitment is to make your shopping experience unique and enjoyable, and to provide you with an excellent selection of quality products, with specialties and flavors from Latin America. From our house to yours, we are proud to serve you."[/quote]

Through its growth, it has stayed true to its values: innovation, family and community.

Cardenas Markets can be considered innovative from its catchy jingles over the years to its adaptability to the ever changing American palate.

“The palate has become much larger than it used to,” Public Affairs Director Marco Robles said.

Popular trends that have found their way into Cardenas’ stores include the wide variety of microbrews, the pairing of wine with Mexican food, and juicing. Today, Cardenas markets have juice bars, in addition to the bakeries, meat markets, fresh tortillas, and a kitchen that prepares and sells hot meals.

When it comes to family, Cardenas Markets has created a family-centric environment, from the option to dine in the market to the shopping carts that seat two children, not one.

And when it comes to community, Cardenas Markets takes great pride in being a partner in each of the communities it is located, particularly when it comes to education. Last month, Cardenas Market’s announced a $50,000 donation to Promise Scholars, a program that provides all Ontario Montclair Unified School District students with early access to college.

Education is so critical because the need is so obvious is many of the communities that Cardenas serves, Robles said.

To learn more about Cardenas markets or the community initiatives it supports, click here



Photo Credit: Enrique Rodriguez