Lola’s Market, a prominent Latino grocery company in Sonoma County, is preparing to open a small store in Healdsburg.
The store, which is scheduled to open within 90 days, will be the company’s third, and the first outside Santa Rosa.
“We feel we’ll be very successful in Healdsburg,” said Joel Russotti, the company’s chief operations officer.
The location is at the south end of Healdsburg Avenue, near the town’s central exit off Highway 101.
The store’s size will be just 3,500 square feet, compared to about 17,000 square feet at Lola’s Petaluma Hill Road location. But Russotti said it will feature the same services as at that Santa Rosa location, including meat, bakery, pastry and produce departments and a kitchen offering “a good taqueria menu to go.”
Lola’s is a major player among county markets catering to the Latino community.
But other grocery store owners are expanding, too. This spring Juan Gamino opened a second Rancho Mendoza store in Santa Rosa. The 14,000-square-foot building on Piner Road joins another store that Gamino operates on Sebastopol Road in Roseland.
Healdsburg’s population in 2000 was 29 percent Latino. More recent demographic data indicate trends that should benefit Lola’s. A year ago the town’s school enrollment was 57 percent Latino.
Construction on the new store remains under way. Russotti said workers will construct an exterior facade that will be similar to the look of the Petaluma Hill location.
The site offered a good location on a well-traveled street, Russotti said. It has plenty of parking and a second building that Lola’s has an option to expand into if needed.
The company is accepting applications for workers at the new location.
Owner David Ortega, who named the company for family matriarch Lola Ortega, opened his first store in 1992 and later moved to Dutton Avenue and Sebastopol Road. Russotti said the company would like to add stores to other cities up and down the county’s Highway 101 corridor.
Lola’s is a private company and does not release sales data.
— Robert Digitale