In the heart of the Rio Grande Valley, a tale of resilience and firm commitment to the community unfolds—a tale exemplified by Félix Chávez, Jr. and his brainchild, Junior’s Supermarket. It is a story of business success and the strong spirit of individuals who emerge from humble origins and passionately dedicate themselves to making a profound difference in the communities of South Texas.
Félix’s journey begins in El Realito, an old-fashioned town near Valle Hermoso, Tamaulipas, México. At the tender age of 13, he embarked on a life-altering odyssey when he, along with his family, immigrated to the United States in 1964. Their worldly possessions were squeezed into a small pickup truck, carrying with them the hopes and dreams of a brighter future, courtesy of Félix Chávez, Sr. and Montserrat, his mother, who envisioned a new life in their newfound homeland.
The initial years of the Chávez family’s life in the United States were defined by relentless labor in the fields of the Rio Grande Valley and northern states in the U.S. They labored under the scorching sun, picking citrus fruits, onions, carrots, and sweet peppers, forging a foundation of resilience and hard work. It wasn’t long before they sought opportunities in northern states like Idaho and California, where fate would introduce Felix to his future wife, María Inés, who shared a similar migrant family background.
Guided by the mentorship of Don Pedro Díaz, Jr. and Lino Canales, influential figures in Hispanic supermarkets within the Rio Grande Valley, Felix and his wife ventured into the supermarket industry. Their journey began with Félix taking on the management of a modest 5,000-square-foot store in Pharr, Texas—an opportunity that was exceptional and pioneering in an era when Hispanic ownership of such businesses was scarce.
Navigating the intricacies of the supermarket industry was a daunting challenge, demanding expertise in every facet of the business. Over the years, Felix expanded his purview, overseeing three stores before stepping into supervisory roles. This hands-on experience endowed him with profound insights into the supermarket sector, fueling their sustained growth.
After accumulating years of invaluable experience, Félix embarked on a bold new venture. In 1981, at the age of 30, he inaugurated his very first grocery store. His dedication centered on providing top-notch products and food items tailored to the specific needs and preferences of the Latino community.
I invite you to read the rest of his story in this issue and enjoy!