Ay Caramba! Vallarta Supermarket (Carniceria Vallarta) is coming to Hesperia with the aim of offering consumers an exciting and interactive shopping experience unlike any other.


According to Tony Hernandez, director of marketing for the California-based chain, shoppers are likely to find a surprise down every aisle.


"Our stores have so much to offer beyond just groceries," said Hernandez. "We want our customers to have more of an experience when they come instead of their usual grocery shopping trip. Our stores have live music and even a food court. Really, it's like a little get-away."


Vallarta's Hesperia market at 17390 Main St. (on the corner of I Avenue and Main) will be the second location in the High Desert. The chain also has a store in Victorville on Mariposa Road.


The grand opening in Hesperia is scheduled for April 9. It will commence with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m., with Hesperia city officials presiding. The store will open at 8 a.m. and close at 10 p.m. Free drawings will be held throughout the day for gift cards, gift baskets and complimentary groceries.


Hernandez says customers at the Victorville location have been requesting that another store be opened in the area. He believes the market's growing popularity is due to its wide variety of grocery items, along with freshly made tortillas, salsa and guacamole, full-service deli and bakery items made on the premise.


Vallarta also offers a unique beverage bar called La Island, which features fresh juices, ice cream and specialty drinks.


"Everything in our stores is state-of-the-art," said Hernandez. "And our customers can find pretty much everything they would at a Vons or other large supermarkets. Our cut-to-order meat department also is a big draw.


"And the fact that we offer hot foods makes it real convenient for people to buy their whole dinner at the store on nights they don't want to cook."


Vallarta Supermarkets was founded in 1985 by Enrique Gonzalez Sr. The Jalisco, Mexico native opened his first location in a 1,000-square-foot building in Van Nuys, hoping to create a niche company to serve the needs of the Hispanic community. The store employed five people and its initial earnings were between $3,000 and $5,000 per week.


Since its humble beginnings, Vallarta has expanded to 42 California locations (including the Hesperia store) in Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Kern, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Tulare, Orange and Fresno counties.


The company employs about 8,000 people, 200 to 300 of which will work in Hesperia.


Hernandez says Vallarta's mission is to provide the highest quality products at reasonable prices. The chain also has its sights set on positively impacting 100 communities by the year 2030, which will include opening three locations annually.


"The combination of all that we have to offer and our great prices contributes greatly to our success," said Hernandez. "We are really looking forward to serving customers in Hesperia. Everyone we've met in the High Desert has been great and we just love the whole area."


Hours for the Hesperia and Victorville Vallarta Supermarkets are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.