Chicharrónes in all sizes, plus menudo, jerky and a whole lot more will be returning to Airport Road next year.
El Paisano Super Market owners Carlos and Maria Andre hope to start construction by August and have a 13,091-square-foot El Paisano open by April at 4405 Airport Road. Carlos Andre said the construction start only awaits city approval of his development plan.
The new Airport Road store will be the first El Paisano store built from the ground up with the specific intention of being a Mexican/Latin American market. All the other El Paisano stores over the years have opened in existing buildings.
The new Airport Road location will be a bit more than twice as large as the 6,000-square-foot El Paisano on Cerrillos Road. This expansiveness will allow Andre to custom design the new store to the customer base he serves.
And that base is not just Mexican anymore. The new store will focus as much on Central and South America as on Mexico, especially on countries such as El Salvador and Guatemala. The Cerrillos Road store doesn’t have much room for Central American or even as much variety of Mexican groceries as Andre and general manager Moises Tarango would like.
“Each country has its uniqueness,” Tarango said.
The new store will carry the South American maize dough for arepas along with fruits, vegetables, candies and other groceries specific to Central America.
U.S. Census Bureau statistics reveal that in 2017, 21,754 residents identifying themselves as Mexican lived in Santa Fe, but so did 23,280 “other Hispanics or Latinos” and about 300 Cubans and Puerto Ricans.
El Paisano Super Market has been evolving for nearly 25 years, with stores opening, moving, closing and the current Cerrillos Road store expanding from one storefront to five storefronts over the years.
This new Airport Road store has been on Carlos Andre’s mind for 15 years. He’s owned the 1.67-acre plot since 2006 — much of the time while his prior Paisano Market was open from 1999 to 2014 on Airport Road at Lucia Lane, three-quarters of a mile to the west.
The 2008 financial meltdown made Andre rethink his El Paisano world. He had not opened a new outlet since starting the Española store in 2006 until opening an El Paisano Market in Rio Rancho in 2017 that he gave to his daughter, Alicia Padilla.
Andre opened the first El Paisano Market in 1996 at another Cerrillos Road location. A couple years later, he was offered a 1,600-square-foot location in the same shopping center but by 2002, “I was growing so much that I couldn’t fit there,” Andre recalled.
In 2002, he moved to the current 3140 Cerrillos Road address, into a 2,200-square-foot storefront with a butcher shop and “little itsy-bitsy grocery.” Over the years, he expanded to the left and right until occupying five storefronts.
Andre added a tortilleria with the first expansion, a kitchen and then a bakery. Groceries soon followed. Once the Airport Road store opens, Andre intends to expand the dining area at the Cerrillos Road store from one row of tables to four.
The new store has been in the works for three or four years, starting as a 20,000-square-foot store and a couple times reduced to get to 13,091 square feet.
The construction is budgeted at $2 million, and the total cost of getting the store built and open is $4.2 million. John Padilla is the architect. A general contractor has not been selected.
“Now we’re getting closer and closer,” Tarango said. “Now we are closer than ever. Hopefully, we’ll start this year, in August; that’s the plan.”
A new Airport Road store would suit nearby resident Moises Delrio, who lives near Airport Road but typically stops at the Cerrillos Road store three times a week for lunch or breakfast or groceries or meat.
When the old Airport Road store closed, Delrio said it was difficult.
“Sometimes it’s hard to come all the way over here,” he said.
Soon, he won’t have to.