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The Ranch Market

Mexico in Arizona

               In the midst of a changing South Phoenix area, one company is valuing South Phoenix’s current culture and population. Where other grocery stores have failed, Ranch Market, a store offering Mexican/Latino products, has been doing very well. The store has a Western looking exterior, but the vendor selling Spanish playing music loudly outside gives a hint to what is inside.

Inside Ranch Market many Hispanic shoppers, a few black people, and very few white people pack the narrow isles and fresh cooked take-out section of the store. Instead of soft subliminal purchasing music, Mexican music loudly fills the air in the Ranch Market. This significantly differs from many other supermarkets in the Phoenix area. The store pays attention and values the people that some believe have been forgotten by the rest of Phoenix, the lower income Hispanic population of South Phoenix. As the store manager said, the store specializes in offering freshly made tortillas and award winning traditional Mexican dishes, as well as some of the freshest produce in town. The store offers traditionally Hispanic style pastries and meats (the meat section even has a cow head on display with the tongue hanging out!). Also, much of the language on signs and products are is in Spanish.

The store gives the customer a feeling of actually being in Mexico. When in the store, a foreigner to the neighborhood may feel just like that, a foreigner! The culture of the area heavily includes the Hispanic culture and it shows. Just up and down the street from the Ranch Market are many stores with signs in Spanish like small clothing stores or restaurants. But, also near the Ranch Market are newer homes with SUVs marking the invasion of the middle class colonists to South Phoenix. 

Our class actually met with the Arizona area director of the Ranch Market. He verified that the store was quite profitable and popular. Why has Ranch Market been successful at the same location where other supermarkets have done poorly or average? The answer, as stated earlier, is that Ranch Market is purposely valuing the current residents of South Phoenix, instead of trying to change them. The impact of the Ranch Market, even though it is a business in existence to make money, is great. 

Metaphorically, Ranch Market is helping the current citizens of South Phoenix fight against the invading commercial changes. The company has put a stake into the community. The Ranch Market, in a way, is saying that the Hispanic population is important and should not be shied away from when conducting business. The store also proves that a corporate business can be successful in South Phoenix serving the lower income Hispanic population. If more companies that valued the Hispanic and lower income population set up their businesses in South Phoenix, it might deter or slow down the invasion of the white middle class. This could be a possibility because less newer changes that include middle class style architecture (light colored buildings with easy desert landscaping and professionally made signs) and middle class businesses (expensive restaurants, franchise stores, high end consumer products) would be attracted if South Phoenix changes at a slower pace and keeps much of its current culture and character. Overall, the Ranch Market is an important addition to the South Phoenix community, even if it or the community may not be aware of it.

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