In late October of 2005, Hurricane Wilma passed through South Florida. Homes and businesses in West Palm Beach were left without power. Several of them suffered great damage, streets were flooded, and debris scattered throughout the city.
A few days later, without electricity, Don Victorio’s Market opened its doors. It was not the ideal time to open a business, but Peruvian owners, then married, had saved up and planned to open in November. They had identified a lack of stores offering fresh and local produce in the area. They thought a small, family-owned business, focusing on fresh food would be a good fit. Both of them, along with their family, spent long days setting up the store. When the effects of Wilma began, work had to stop. The family decided to have a soft opening when all rains had ceased. Many stores remained closed, but those who were out looking to buy food in the area, found Don Victorio’s stocked with produce ready to be sold. Although it was a challenge to work with only a calculator and paper, selling all merchandise by unit, the family was able to get through those first days.
As power came back and flyers advertising the store were distributed, people became aware of the new market in town and business began to pick up. Consequently, additional staff was needed. The family worked hard to keep the business running smoothly. A lot of extra hours were put into the store, as they were determined to succeed.
Don Victorio’s went though several changes in the incoming years. The location was moved next door in order to have a little more room to fit the continuously flowing merchandise. On any given day, it is a challenge to fit a shopping cart between shelves and tables. Customers from all nationalities frequent the store, creating a rich and diverse atmosphere. Many are regulars and have come to get to know the owners and their children through the years.
The family began to realize another need in the area: healthy, natural, and organic goods at an affordable price. Customers were asking and they were willing to deliver. They began stocking the market with such products. From organic apples, kale, quinoa, to maca powder. Soon thereafter, Don Victorio’s Juices was born, providing customers with freshly juiced fruits and vegetables, wheat grass shots, healthy sandwiches, and desserts.
The store has also been participating in the West Palm Beach Green Market for years, bringing fresh and affordable produce to the downtown area.
The family-owned business is excited to continue delivering to its customers, adding healthier products to its shelves while keeping its diverse style along the way.
- Photography by Sandra PDC Photography