In 2011, over the span of just one year, Round Rock and Pflugerville became home to a number of ethnic grocery stores, including one national chain and one that expanded from a catering business to a supermarket. Owners said the cities have become a niche for ethnic grocers because they provide ample opportunity for growth and a loyal and diverse customer base.
1. La Placita Snappy Snacks Super Mercado
Tom Ramsey and his family have been in the mobile catering business since 1997, offering customers in Williamson, Bastrop, Travis and Bell counties an assortment of Mexican, Japanese, Korean, Salvadorean and American foods throughout the years.
In September 2011, Ramsey turned the Snappy Snacks warehouse at 15630 Vision Drive in Pflugerville into a supermarket, which has grown to become a public venue for eating, grocery shopping and youth and nonprofit events.
Ramsey said other ethnic grocers have taken notice of the growing Latino market in the area in recent years and have brought on some healthy competition that benefits customers by keeping prices down.
“I think it’s wonderful that people are starting a business. I think it’s the driving force of our economy,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot more ethnics, like Salvadoreans, coming out and looking for products. We’re making sure we cater to all Latinos.”
2. Taj Grocery
In July 2011, the father-and-sons team of Manhar, Ravi, Tejas and Pratik Patel opened Taj Grocery at 1601 S. I-35, Ste. 310, in Round Rock.
The grocery store offers a variety of Indian and Asian grocery staples such as rice and beans, as well as ethnic snacks, beverages, frozen foods and vegetables.
Ravi said there are plans to open Swad Restaurant and offer an Indian cooking class later this year once a kitchen is added to the back of the store.
Like Ramsey, Ravi has noticed the recent rise of ethnic grocery stores in the area and said it is due to ethnic groups who have migrated from Austin to Round Rock, as well as a growing base of Anglo, Hispanic and African-American customers.
“A lot of people like Indian food and want to cook Indian food,” Ravi said. “If you have more stores and more restaurants, you have good competition, and customers get quality products and better rates.”
3. Ambica Foods/Swagat Indian Restaurant
The owner of Ambica Foods, which specializes in Indian foods, opened Swagat Indian Restaurant—which serves traditional south Indian food—next to his grocery store in September 2011.
Snehal Amin has noticed more ethnic groceries sprouting up in the area, which he attributes in part to Indians seeking an ideal place to live.
“Round Rock has good schools, and it’s a good place to live,” Amin said. “We have a lot of customers who have moved from Austin to Round Rock.”
Ambica Foods is at 3202 S. I-35, Ste. 580, in Round Rock
4. La Michoacana Meat Market Taqueria, 1080 S. Mays St., Round Rock, www.lamichoacanameatmarket.com
5. Teji’s Indian Restaurant and Grocery, 1205 Round Rock Ave., Round Rock, 244-3351, www.tejifoods.com
6. La Mexicana Market, 900 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Ste. 1013, Round Rock, 388-9662
7. JD’s Meat Market, 14300 Dessau Road, Pflugerville, 670-0990, www.jdsmeatmarket.com