Produce is critical to this family-run operation.
When you walk into the produce-heavy Don Victorio’s Market in West Palm Beach, FL, chances are you’ll run into owner Gladys Del Carpio or one of her children who work the store, as the entire family takes part in making the store a success.
For the Del Carpio family, produce is almost as important as their Peruvian family — at least in terms of the store. “At our store, 80 percent of our products are produce. We have the best prices, and we can even compete with the big stores because we have a lot of volume,” says Del Carpio. “We have all the restaurants in the area buying from us, and we work directly with the farmers, so the quality is really good.”
The store sources its produce locally from throughout the state and prides itself on having the best selections in season. If necessary, drivers will go to Tennessee or South Carolina to acquire produce.
“There are different varieties of fruits and vegetables that grow in different countries, and we try to get that produce for our customers as well,” says Del Carpio. “Customers love the quality and price. They tell me all the time there is nowhere else in Palm Beach County they can get what we have.”
In addition to the produce offerings, the store has grocery items, including rice, beans, bread, eggs, noodles and other everyday items. “We listen to our customers, and whatever they ask for, we try to get it for them,” says Del Carpio. “We think it’s that relationship that makes us special.”
In The Beginning
Gladys and her then-husband opened Don Victorio’s Market in November 2005 — days after Hurricane Wilma hit South Florida — because they felt there was a lack of groceries offering fresh and local produce in the area they lived. They thought a small, family owned business focusing on fresh food would be a great fit for the neighborhood.
Although not an ideal time to hold a grand opening, the Del Carpios wanted to be there for the neighbors they were going to serve. “We had no power. Everyone else was closed, but we had a lot of produce and opened the doors using calculators and paper; we sold the merchandise by unit,” recalls Del Carpio. “Everyone was looking for fresh food — apples, oranges — just things they didn’t have to cook. It allowed us to really get to know the customers because everyone was telling stories about the storm.”
In 2007, the market moved to a larger 1,800-square-foot location next door and began specializing in organics to meet a growing customer demand. Suddenly, the bins were packed with organic apples, kale, quinoa and other produce. “Sometimes people can’t afford to buy organic, but when it’s local, it’s the best because it was picked at the correct time,” says Del Carpio. “The prices are better when it’s local, so that allows our customers to get what they need.”
Soon after the introduction of organics, Don Victorio’s signature juices were born, providing customers with freshly juiced fruits and vegetables, wheat grass shots, healthy sandwiches and desserts. “Customers can come up to us with the items they want to put in the juice and we will make it in front of them,” says Del Carpio. “This has been very popular among our customers.”
Today, customers from all nationalities frequent the store, creating a rich and diverse atmosphere. Many are regulars who have come to know the Del Carpio family through the years. “The diversity of the customers we have living in South Florida gives us the chance to service people from everywhere — Europe, South America … really all over, and they come for different products,” says Sandra Perez, Del Carpio’s daughter and digital media manager for the store. “We try to implement healthier products in the store, and offer something for everyone who walks in.”
The store does not utilize public relations efforts nor does it do any advertising. “We know our customers will bring in more customers,” says Del Carpio.
The store participates in the West Palm Beach GreenMarket, supplying fresh and affordable produce to the downtown area. “I love when people come up to us at the farmers market and tell me they were waiting for us,” says Del Carpio. “All my customers are friends, and I am always happy to see them.
Don Victorio’s Market
7504 S. Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, FL 33405
P: (561) 588-5661
Hours: 7:30 am – 6:30 pm