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The Dallas Morning News reports that as the nation’s Hispanic population grows four times as fast as the general population, “supermarket executives like Ron E. Johnson of Minyard Food Stores Inc. are studying Spanish and learning that cactus is a vegetable and that candles to Catholic saints are must-have items. He's finding that Mexicans not only bring home the bacon, but the pig's head and feet, too.”

CEO Johnson, according to the Morning News, “recently commissioned a series of market studies to evaluate the company's Hispanic strategy. Like a culinary anthropologist, he took trips to the Latino capitals of Guadalajara, Los Angeles and Houston to muscle up mentally for the North Texas food fight.”

Minyard is responding to what it has learned by converting about a dozen of its stores to its Hispanic Carnival format, and will open another 12 stores under that moniker – and will, eventually, have more Carnival stores than Minyard or Sack N' Save format stores.

Johnson, who has been CEO since the Minyard family sold the company to a Texas investor group, said that Hispanic marketing will be an enormous priority for Minyard’s…and that the company also will be focusing on learning more about and marketing to African-Americans, Asians and Eastern European customers.
KC's View:
We would never argue against the notion that a food retailer has to find a strong and definable niche in order to remain viable and profitable.

But we have to be honest. We can’t read Ron Johnson’s name without remembering the extraordinarily negative reaction we heard when he got the CEO/president/managing partner job at Minyard’s – all of it from places where he had worked before.

So here’s where we come down on this. The strategy seems to make sense. We’ll have to be convinced about the implementation.