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The shoemaker, the fire and Don Miguel’s great destiny

The first seed in the garden of history that now overflows Northgate Market sprouted over half a century ago, in Jalisco, in the small town of Jalostotitlan. Before there was ever a Don Miguel González Jiménez, benevolent owner of Northgate Market and leader of his community, there was Don Miguel, the zapatero (shoemaker), with a small shop in the center of his beloved town, La Elegancia. While Don Miguel worked his store both tirelessly and happily, his beautiful wife, Doña Teresa Reynoso de González, cared for their home and their children. 

But all that changed in 1952 when a fire swallowed up the zapatero’s shop, and left Don Miguel and Doña Teresa with nothing more than ashes. A padre (priest) in the town spread word of the tragedy that befell la familia González, and helped raise as much money as he could for the family. But the road ahead was unrelenting. Fourteen years of limbo, struggle and uncertainty, pushed Don Miguel and Doña Teresa to make a decision. At 44, Don Miguel, a husband and a father, would bid a temporary goodbye to his wife and young children, and, with his two eldest sons, embark on a journey to capture their American Dream.

Jalos

The first seeds take root and Northgate begins to grow

Immigrants in a foreign land, Don Miguel relied entirely on his vision, resilience and faith; faith in the divine, in his family, and in himself. By 1976, Doña Teresa and Don Miguel were reunited in La Mirada, CA, and four years later, Don Miguel once again was a small business owner. With the help and unwavering support of his wife and sons, Don Miguel opened his first Northgate Market in a 3,000-square foot-store on Anaheim Boulevard, in Anaheim, on January 2, 1980.

There was not a single member of Don Miguel’s family that did not work.

There was not a single member of Don Miguel’s family that did not work. It was relentless and grueling. Somehow, hours worked would seem longer than the days themselves. Every single member of the family had to be a janitor, a butcher, a produce expert, cashiers - whatever needed to be done, the family did it. 

The word spread fast of the González market. Their great care and adoration for their customers was unrivaled by any other; Don Miguel’s well stocked shelves of authentic ingredients from all over Mexico seemed straight out of a dream. The family’s secret recipes and familiar flavors of home, dripping from their carne preparade and carnitas and chorizo, were what customers had been desiring. 

young gonzalez family

The family’s first store flourished.

The family’s first store flourished. In 1986, Don Miguel opened another store in La Habra, followed by Pico Rivera in 1989. Twenty years later with more than 30 stores, Northgate acquired El Tigre Market of San Diego to stretch its reach from Los Angeles County, to Orange County, to San Diego County. The roots were now giving fruits.

Don Miguel’s promise and the journey ahead

We’re a Latino market for everyone. We are hardworking, humble, loyal, innovators and auténticos. We believe in the power of family. At Northgate, we are all familia. 

From our comprehensive health program at the service of our employees, to our philanthropic arm, Fundación Familia González Reynoso, Northgate is always giving back to the community that has given so much for us—it’s our way of saying thank you.

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