ONTARIO, Calif. — Mike Provenzano has grand plans for expansion, and he hopes to follow through on them once the economy recovers.
He opened his 14th Hispanic-oriented Pro's Ranch Market in mid-November in Phoenix — his fifth store in the Arizona city — with plans for three more new stores in 2009: in Mesa, Ariz., early in the year; in Las Cruces, N.M., in August; and another Phoenix location at the end of the year.
With the new store less than a month old, volume for the 14 Pro's units is now running at an estimated $500 million annually, industry sources told SN.
Provenzano, the company's president and chief executive officer, has already expanded beyond Southern California and Phoenix with stores in Albuquerque, N.M., and El Paso, Texas, and he's anticipating expansion opportunities across Texas, Utah and Colorado, “plus we need stores in Las Vegas,” he said.
While he'd like to open four stores a year, he's reluctant to pinpoint plans beyond 2009 because of the economy.
Provenzano's stores feature a wide mix of perishables, including extensive foodservice departments, “and we spend a lot of money on each store — $7 million or $8 million or $9 million, just like Whole Foods does — so I have to rely on bank borrowings, because I don't have enough money in my pocket to open four stores a year,” he explained.
“We're building a family business with a great team, and while we haven't had problems getting money, we've got to be realistic about financing in this economy.
“The Bank of America understands what's going on with Hispanic marketing, and it wants to help the Hispanic consumer, but we have to wait for the banks to start loosening up.”
Provenzano said he hopes the Obama administration will recognize the importance of small businesses like his “that create jobs and grow the employee base.”