Food News

Sedano's Supermarkets Celebrates 60 Years in Miami

Sedano's chief marketing officer Javier Herrán is a descendant of one of the company's founding families.
Sedano's chief marketing officer Javier Herrán is a descendant of one of the company's founding families. Photo courtesy of Sedano's Supermarket
When people think about Miami, they often conjure images of sun-drenched beaches, tropical drinks, beat-blasting nightclubs, and — now more than ever — a growing roster of Latin-themed fare.

Miami's Hispanic culture continues to be this city's most defining element. It's been the inspiration behind a number of our nation's most beloved movies, TV shows, and music videos. It's spawned endless talent, from the likes of Gloria Estefan and Enrique Iglesias to Pitbull.

In the past few decades, it's also become a driving force of innovation, making Miami ground zero for a number of Hispanic-owned and -operated businesses, among them Sedano's Supermarkets, the Latin grocer, which has its roots in Miami-Dade County — and which celebrates its 60th year in business this year.

Established by the Guerra and Herrán families, Sedano's has become an indelible part of the fabric of Miami. And, as 2022 commences the grocer's seventh decade in business, it seems only fitting to recount the story of a business that has grown from humble bodega beginnings to its status as one of America’s largest independently owned Hispanic supermarket chains.

Today, Sedano's stores can be found across the state, with a total of 34 — and more than 3,000 employees — in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Orange counties. But it began with a single store in Hialeah.

According to Javier Herrán, chief marketing officer at Sedano's and a descendant of one of its founding families, the company was founded by Cuban emigrants Manuel Agustin Herrán and Armando Guerra, who purchased the store from René Sedano in 1962.

Having emigrated to Miami from Cuba (and originally from Spain) the Herrán and Guerra families brought with them experience operating similar neighborhood stores. When the two men were given the opportunity to purchase the already established supermarket off 41st Street, they quickly agreed.

At the time, the original Sedano's was similar to a neighborhood bodega, selling foods with the flavors familiar to newly arrived immigrants. In addition to growing the business, the families' goal was to create a shopping experience that catered to Miami's Hispanic immigrants in search of affordable, nostalgic grocery items.

"Hialeah was a growing, and successful city," Herrán says. "At the time, the area was full of working families and factories. We knew it would be a great location offering locals a convenient place to shop for the items they loved."

For many, a visit to Sedano's provides much more than a trip to the grocery store. It's also a way to keep their culture alive and close to their hearts by using ingredients that are familiar and sourced from their home country.
click to enlarge Sedano's original founders, Ezequiel Herrán (left) and Juan Perez. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SEDANO'S SUPERMARKETS
Sedano's original founders, Ezequiel Herrán (left) and Juan Perez.
Photo courtesy of Sedano's Supermarkets
For longtime Sedano's employee Pedro Mesa, the company's director of community affairs, Sedano's stands as a South Florida success story rooted in the grocer's unique ability to cater to Latin culture.

While there may be many supermarkets in the area, only a handful speak to Cubans, Venezuelans, Colombians, Nicaraguans, and Puerto Ricans the way Sedano's does, says Mesa. "Many employees and shoppers arrive in Miami not knowing English, but at Sedano’s they can feel at home," he adds.

To this day, one of the most popular sections of the store is the "corte latino," or the meat department. Here, customers can request hard-to-find cuts of meat and have them hand-cut in front of them, to their preference.

There's also the bakery, where you can find popular items like fresh-baked Cuban bread and to-go items like Colombian-style empanadas. Very few people leave without a stop at the store's cafeteria for a cafecito and a pastry.

Today, the website offers tips for cooking at home, sharing popular recipes for dishes like Peruvian-style roast chicken, Argentinian choripan, Cuban barbecue sauce, or Nicaraguan-style churrasco — all of which call for ingredients that can easily be found at Sedano's.

The Miami-based company is also proud to have a troupe of loyal employees — many like Mesa, who began working for Sedano's when he was still in high school and is nearing four decades with the company. It's proof of Sedano's ongoing dedication to the local community, and its well-earned reputation for giving back for more than 20 years with its annual holiday food donations and new business development opportunities.

That includes Sedano’s Kitchen, part of the company’s sponsorship as an activation at the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair that takes place each spring. During the event, up-and-coming local food businesses had a chance to promote and sell their products to fair attendees.

This past March, Sedano's Kitchen chose Cuban hot sauce creator Mario Cruz's Barbaro Mojo — and starting this month, customers can find the sauce at all Sedano’s stores.

"We're very grateful to our longtime employees and loyal customers for allowing Sedano's to be part of their friends and families for the past 60 years," Herrán sums up. "We take pride in being a cultural hub to our local community, and feel proud to bring our customers quality foods at the best prices, while always keeping in mind the flavors of their homelands and culture."
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna