May 27, 2023


Sedano's New Generation

The nation's largest Hispanic retailer is trying to win over younger Cuban-Americans and capture new arrivals from the Americas and Caribbean.

Mike Vogel | 11/1/2008
Sedanos Managers
The Herráns, from left,: Jose Jr., COO and head buyer; Agustin, president and CEO; and Javier, director of marketing and IT chief. Their Sedano’s supermarket chain, the fourth-biggest in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, employs 2,600 and expects revenue of more than $400 million this year. [Photo: Eileen Escarda]

Walking through their family’s newest supermarket in west Miami, cousins Jose Herrán Jr. and Javier Herrán point out the differences between the new Sedano’s prototype and older Sedano’s stores — higher ceilings, wider aisles, brighter lighting, more convenience. They zero in on the products and services they say differentiate Sedano’s from its competition for Hispanic consumers — the fish selection, the custom-cuts meat department, the abundance of Hispanic groceries, from maltas to bulk rice to Cuban crackers. The Herráns stop at an aisle with 24 feet of shelf space dedicated to customers from Central America, pointing out jars of potatoes, bags of purple corn flour and pea flour. More products appealing to non-Cuban Hispanics are coming.

What's Different

Custom-cut meat department:
Sedano’s meat department caters to Hispanic preferences by downplaying packaged meats in favor of allowing customers to specify the exact weight they want or have the meat cut in a meal-specific way, such as pork cut into the square chunks used in the popular Cuban dish masitas de puerco. Whole pigs, cooked to order or raw, also can be purchased.

Maltas, non-alcoholic, brewed soft drinks:
 Polar — popular with Venezuelans for its strong malt flavor
 India — a Puerto Rican favorite
 Hatuey — the most common brand for Cubans
 Paisa — Colombians like its stronger malt flavor

“You probably won’t see too much of this anywhere in the market. We get more and more every day,” Chief Operating Officer Jose Herrán Jr. says. “We cater to everybody.”

For the new generation of Herráns, the stakes are as high as the new store’s ceiling as they try to capture the hearts of younger Cubans and masses of new immigrants from Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Battered by competition from everyone from convenience stores to Wal-Mart super centers, supermarket industry revenues in constant dollars have grown just 1.1% since 2004 and are projected to grow only 1.3% in the next five years, says senior analyst George Van Horn, of Los Angeles-based business intelligence firm IBISWorld. The competitive pressures that supermarkets have been under recently will only intensify, Van Horn says.

In the 46 years since Cuban immigrant Armando Guerra bought a small grocery store in Hialeah from a man named Sedano, the Guerra and Herrán families have built a family success story in south Florida. Manuel Herrán, who married Guerra’s niece, and his brothers Jose Sr., Ezequiel and Antolin built the chain. Herráns and Guerras are prominent in business, law, real estate and banking. Their 2,600-employee Sedano’s chain expects to post $413 million in revenue this year and ranks fourth in market share in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area. With 3.2% of the market, Sedano’s trails Publix, the runaway leader with 51% (and 68 stores in Miami-Dade alone), Winn-Dixie (17%) and Wal-Mart (12%), according to industry watcher Progressive Grocer.

Tags: Miami-Dade

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