Stepping into Supermex in Pasco is like stepping into a grocery store in Mexico — and that is exactly what owner Jesus Higareda-Diaz wants.
Colorful murals adorn the walls depicting traditional Hispanic foods and produce, piñatas line the ceiling, the smell of authentic Mexican tacos fills the air, and the friendly staff greets you in Spanish.
We enjoy giving back to the community, because they have given us so much.Jesus Higareda-Diaz, owner of Supermex
In fact, the motto of the store is “Un pedacito de México cerca de ti”, which means “A small piece of Mexico near you.”
For many local Hispanics, stepping into Supermex is like stepping into their home away from home — although Higareda-Diaz said that his clientele is far more ethnically diverse that you might think, including Russians, Koreans and Indians. He also draws shoppers from outside the Tri-Cities.
Higareda-Diaz and his family settled in California in the late 1980s from Mexico. He was just 13 and for nearly 15 years he worked with his parents, who owned a similar grocery store in California.
In 2002, he moved to the Tri-Cities in hopes of following in his parent’s footsteps and opening up his very own Mexican grocery store. He didn’t have any family here, but had heard it was a growing area and that businesses did well.
Higareda-Diaz opened Supermex El Pueblo Market at 420 W. Lewis in downtown Pasco that same year.
At first, it was hard, he said, but the store quickly started to pick up steam and on Sundays, the lines at the cash register were long.
“When I first came to the Tri-Cities it was like an adventure,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect and it was really hard at first to assimilate.”
It wasn’t long before the little store gained popularity and a loyal following of regulars who returned to the store for its authentic products, reasonable prices, and unmatched variety.
In 2008, he opened a bigger location at 720 N. 20th Ave. in Pasco to accommodate for growth. Shortly after he opened one in Milton-Freewater, Ore., because so many people of his customers were traveling from outside the Tri-Cities to do their grocery shopping at his store.
But managing the three stores proved to be more difficult than Higareda-Diaz imagined, so he sold the downtown Pasco store and the Milton-Freewater store.