Local grocery closes doors

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

Portales has one less grocery store after La Tienda in the Sands Shopping Center closed its doors earlier this month.

Russell’s Super Save has purchased the inventory and fixtures from La Tienda’s parent company, Dale’s Venture Foods of Denver City, Texas, and will absorb the inventory into its store on 18th Street.

Representatives from both stores said the pressure of having two Affiliated Foods stores in a town the size of Portales, with identical advertising just wasn’t working well. Both said increasing volume while competing with Wal-Mart and another store was hard.

Affiliated Foods main store brand is ShurFine. Both stores carried the brand.

“So far everything is real positive,” Russell said. “This store is plenty big enough to handle the influx. Actually this store was a little bit big before (with two Affiliated stores).

He said his store has noticed an increase in business since La Tienda closed March 3.

Former La Tienda manager Don Peterson, who had been with the store since 1999, said there were 14 employees at the store when it closed. Peterson accepted a transfer to one of the company’s four remaining stores.

“It was just one of those spur of the moment things,” Peterson said about the store’s closing.

According to Peterson, Dale’s Venture Foods bought the store, formerly Food Town, in 1995. He said Food Town opened in that location when the Sands Shopping Center was completed in 1962. Peterson previously served as a store manager at Food Town in the early 1990s.

“It was difficult — two Affiliated stores in a town like this is complicated,” Peterson said. “Business had really maxed out for both of us.”

Peterson said while the dynamics of competing with Wal-Mart make things tough, he feels there really should be another food store in town — just not another Affiliated store.

Russell emphasized he hasn’t bought or leased the La Tienda building and has no plans for operating another business.

He and Peterson confirmed that ownership of the building is in the hands of a third party.

Attempts to contact the building owners were unsuccessful.