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Local Latin store brings tastes of Latin American countries to Hampton Roads

Posted at 4:13 PM, Sep 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-05 21:16:23-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- La Tienda Beach, a grocery store, may be small but inside it packs together Latin American countries throughout its aisles. No matter the challenge, even the coronavirus pandemic, this business has still managed to stay afloat.

“The pandemic is bad, sad, but I can tell you,” Neri Marrero, the store’s owner explained to News 3, “I’m grateful because I received more business than before."

Marrero credits her success right now not only on her unique selection of Latin products, but she said it is also because her store is really the only kind of grocery store in this section of Thalia in the City of Virginia Beach.

“I’m sad for many businesses that had to close their doors,” she said. “Especially restaurants because you know grocery stores, you need to buy stuff, you need to buy food."

La Tienda – which translates to “the store” in English -- has stood at its current location in the Thalia Village Shoppes for more than 30 years, according to Marrero. She added the store was here when she arrived from her native Dominican Republic.

“People they think that the first owner was Dominican; it was not,” she said. “It was an American from Europe."

She bought the store in 2012, continuing to sell products one probably would not find in a larger grocery store.

“They feel like they have a little piece from their culture, from their country, and they feel like it’s home,” Marrero said.

Some of the products come imported from, “Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico. We also have Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Spain, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador,” just to name a few, she said.

“I want to be involved with my community, with my people, and I love it,” Marrero said. “I love to share it with my people," especially as Hispanic Heritage Month approaches.

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