ALBANY PARK — A family-run grocery store in Albany Park received a grant as part of the city’s pandemic recovery initiative.
Lindo Michoacan Supermarket, 3142 W. Lawrence Ave., is one of 26 businesses and nonprofits to receive a Chicago Recovery Plan Community Development Grant, officials announced this week.
Owner Sado Marin will use the $375,000 in grant money to tear down a false wall behind the grocery store’s deli to expand the building’s retail space, he said.
The area behind the wall serves as storage, a bakery and kitchen. The retail floor expansion will allow Lindo Michoacan to sell products in larger packaging than what the current layout allows, said Alonzo Diaz, Marin’s son and store manager.
The bigger packages of products will allow customers to pay less per item, Diaz said.
Marin is from Michoacan, Mexico, and he named the grocery store — which he opened in 1995 — after his hometown. Lindo Michoacan translates into beautiful Michoacan, Diaz said.
The property used to be a pharmacy, Dunkin’ Donuts and Payless shoe store. Over the years, Marin has expanded the shop as its needs grew, and it’s doubled in size, he said.
Almost all of the other businesses that received grant money are based on the South and West sides. It felt good for the city to recognize Lindo Michoacan’s importance to the North Side as an independent, affordable grocery store, Marin said.
“There’s not too many grocery stores like us that are around this area,” Diaz said. “Now more than ever, with inflation hitting everyone, it’s important to have access to quality and affordable food people can cook at home.”
In addition to fresh produce and packaged goods, Lindo Michoacan carries freshly made baked goods, homemade salsas, roasted chickens, fried chicharróns, Mexican rice, carnitas and a selection of fresh-cut meats, Marin said.
“We’ve got a little bit of everything, and we make sure it’s all fresh and homemade,” Marin said in Spanish. “We only make as much as we need to last us the day until we close at 8 p.m. That way we sell out and don’t reuse anything for the next day.”
While walking through the business Tuesday afternoon, Marin greeted regular customers by name and fielded a woman’s question about the variety of chili peppers he has in stock. After asking how spicy a pepper she needed, Marin directed her to the store’s serrano peppers.
“I want everyone who comes in to feel welcome. I want them to feel like they’re at home,” Marin said.
Marin’s welcoming approach is why customers have been coming to Lindo Michoacan for decades, Diaz said.
“I’m 25, and some of the people who come in here have been doing so for as long as I’ve been alive. It’s incredible, seeing their faces day in and day out,” Diaz said. “There are people who knew my father as children, and now they have families and are introducing him to their children. Being here for so many years is incredible.”
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