Supermercados Morelos, a growing local chain of Hispanic grocery stores, is the type of small business worth emulating, according to Marie Johns, deputy administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Johns toured the store at 4704 NW 23 on Wednesday as part of a two-day visit to Oklahoma. The owners of Supermercados Morelos used counseling services offered by the local office of the Small Business Administration when starting and growing their business, which has expanded from one store in 2003 with annual sales of $1.5 million to five stores in Oklahoma and Texas and total sales around $16.5 million.
Co-owner Manuel Gomez said the Small Business Administration helped make possible the “American dream” of owning a business for his family, which emigrated from Mexico. They had never owned a business before, but had experience working in grocery stores.
“They credit much of their opportunity to grow the company to the resources they were able to use from the SBA,” Johns said after her tour. At the store, she was treated to a “fantastic” lunch and shopped for spices and coffee to take home to Washington, D.C.
Johns arrived in Tulsa on Tuesday and visited the Tulsa Metro Chamber and the Cherokee Arts Center in Tahlequah. On Wednesday, she toured the Oklahoma City National Memorial before her stop at Supermercados Morelos.
“Since being in Oklahoma, I've been very happy to see a true spirit of cooperation and collaboration among the different sectors.” As other states struggle with rebuilding their economy, Oklahoma, she said, is on track.
“I've just been very excited about what I'm seeing in Oklahoma.”
She also has visited businesses in San Diego and Charlotte, N.C., and was headed to Wisconsin as part of the tour, which is intended to determine how to provide better support to entrepreneurs through SBA programs.