Tuesday, December 11, 2012
A day before the grand opening of the new Northgate Gonzalez supermarket in Barrio Logan, a local priest splashed holy water over the staff gathered together at the front of the store.
A new grocery store opens today in Barrio Logan. It's a community dream that’s been in the works for decades.
"I know a lot of you," he said, then pointed to one female employee, "Didn't I marry you?" he asked.
"My sister," she shouted back to him, smiling.
This tight-knit community has been waiting decades for a supermarket within walking distance. The Latin-themed Northgate Gonzalez store is part of the Mercado redevelopment project that’s been in the works for twenty-one years.
Carlos Castañeda, who grew up in Barrio Logan and helped lobby for the Mercado project, said it was about time the neighborhood had a source of fresh produce and reasonably-priced groceries.
“The city just totally neglected us for decades, Castañeda said.
"So the fact that we’re sitting in an area that had junkyards, had toxic waste sites, believe it or not, and now we’re sitting in a beautiful market that’s going to serve the very community that it’s surrounding, it is a very big deal.”
It's such a big deal that the San Diego City Council and new Mayor Bob Filner proclaimed Tuesday Northgate Gonzalez Mercado Day.
Company officials said the store would employ about 125 people, many of them from the surrounding neighborhood.