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Exclusive Interview: Californian Northgate Market González's Intersection Into Soccer Sponsorship.

Roger Hampel

Northgate Market Soccer
Northgate Market Soccer

In the vibrant landscape of Southern California's retail scene, Northgate Market stands out not just as a supermarket chain but as a cultural beacon. Beginning in 1980 with its first store in Anaheim, the González Reynoso family has grown Northgate Market into an impressive network of 43 stores, extending across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Diego counties. Their foray into various sectors like commercial real estate, healthcare, banking, and food halls only underscores their entrepreneurial spirit.

Today, we have the privilege of interviewing Marco Antonio - the Owner and Vice-President, who has been a vital part of Northgate Market González's evolution and its significant impact within the Mexican community in Southern California. From its inception, Northgate Market has been committed to serving the Mexican community, offering authentic products and experiences that resonate deeply with its customers.

Our conversation with Marco Antonio will also venture into the exciting world of sports sponsorships, particularly soccer, showcasing how Northgate Market's involvement with LAFC and other sports initiatives transcends mere business interests to embrace community engagement and cultural celebration. This interview promises to shed light on how Marco Antonio and Northgate Market blend retail expertise with a passion for sports and community, creating a unique tapestry that enriches Southern California's cultural landscape.

Roger Hampel: Let's begin by exploring Northgate Market's significant influence within the Mexican community in Southern California.

Marco Antonio: Northgate Market began in 1980 when our González family opened it’s first store in Anaheim, CA. The goal was to serve the Mexican community in LA and Orange County, which was then underserved. We've succeeded by focusing on our first-generation Mexican consumers and now proudly serve subsequent generations. Our commitment to authentic Mexican products and values has established us as a cultural cornerstone. Our mission is to enrich our community's life, reflecting our faith in God, and provide a genuine Mexican shopping experience.

Roger Hampel: Shifting to sports, how did Northgate Market get involved with soccer sponsorship, such as with the LAFC?

Marco Antonio: We recognized that food, sports, entertainment, and family are passion points for our customers. LAFC shares similar values, offering an engaging experience at their stadium. Our partnership allowed us to bring our food into their venue, enhancing the game day experience with authentic Mexican cuisine.

Northgate Market Gonzalez Soccer
Northgate Market Gonzalez Soccer

Northgate Market Gonzalez Soccer LAFC
Northgate Market Gonzalez Soccer

Northgate González Market Teams Up with LAFC to Offer Authentic Mexican Cuisine at all Stadium Events.

Roger Hampel: With LAFC's star player, Carlos Vela, being a prominent Mexican figure, what impact does his presence have on your partnership?

Marco Antonio: Carlos Vela's association with LAFC deepens our connection with the Mexican fanbase. His reputation and the fans' admiration for him playing in LAFC enhances our ability to emotionally connect our customers with the team.

Roger Hampel: Beyond business, how does Northgate Market view soccer as a means of community engagement and cultural celebration?

Marco Antonio: Soccer is a cultural touchstone for our primary Mexican customer base. In our stores, soccer is a visible element of fandom. Our strategic partnership with LAFC and our involvement in soccer underscore our commitment to our customers' interests.

Roger Hampel: Are there plans to partner with other Californian MLS clubs, or is the focus solely on strengthening the LAFC relationship?

Marco Antonio:  Currently, we are focusing on reinforcing our partnership with LAFC, but we are open to exploring opportunities with other clubs in the LA or San Diego area.

Northgate Market Gonzalez Soccer LAFC
Northgate Market Gonzalez Soccer

Roger Hampel: Apart from LAFC, are there other sports initiatives or events Northgate Market supports?

Marco Antonio:  We aim to offer our authentic Mexican food at sports venues across Southern California. We've partnered with SoFi Stadium and the San Diego Padres, and we're exploring other venues in LA and San Diego. Our partnership with the USL club, OCSC – Orange County Soccer Club, focuses on community-driven soccer initiatives.

Roger Hampel: The World Cup will be coming to North America in less than three years, with games in California. It seems like a great opportunity for Northgate Market. Do you have any plans for the World Cup, like serving food at the venues?

Marco Antonio: Absolutely. We're aware that SoFi is still under consideration, and being involved in the World Cup is crucial for us. We're also investing in youth community engagement and recognizing the growth of soccer in the U.S. With the World Cup approaching in 2026, we expect significant growth in soccer's popularity. We're preparing to serve our customers and connect with them through soccer, and we've aligned our initiatives with the sport.

Roger Hampel: Could you tell us more about the upcoming soccer camp in LA, involving Atlético de San Luis and PIXIXI LLC, with the Football Business Journal as a media partner? How does this fit into your strategy, especially sponsoring youth tournaments?

Marco Antonio: It's important for us, especially as we look to the second and third-generation Mexican Americans for growth. Creating opportunities both on and off the field is essential. Our commitment to education, through scholarships from our foundation, is strong. We see soccer as a way to fulfill dreams and partner with organizations that share our values. Providing opportunities for boys and girls in Southern California aligns with our mission to enrich lives.

Roger Hampel: It's commendable that the event maintained an equal balance with 75 boys and 75 girls. What are your future plans for sponsorships in soccer or sports in general?

Marco Antonio: Our partnership with Atletico San Luis is our starting point. We've chosen them for a couple of reasons: our San Luis customer base supports them, and they share our values, especially in their community initiatives off the field. Their success is now reflected on the pitch, with top-five rankings consistently. The link with Atletico Madrid also provides a potential path for emerging talents. Although this is our first soccer clinic partnership, we are open to exploring similar partnerships with local teams and those our customer base in Mexico resonates with.

Roger Hampel: From a cultural standpoint, how does Northgate Market's support of the event align with your values, particularly regarding the impact on young people with Mexican heritage?

Marco Antonio: Education is a cornerstone of our values, and we understand the passion our customers have for soccer. By providing these professional-level opportunities locally, we stay true to our consumer base. Many of these kids would normally have to seek out such opportunities elsewhere, so we're facilitating that for them. It's in line with our beginnings as Northgate Market, which was a name we kept due to financial constraints but grew to symbolize a gateway to opportunity for Mexican immigrants. This ethos continues to guide our support for such events.

Roger Hampel: Besides soccer, what other sports does Northgate Market sponsor?

Marco Antonio:  We're involved with baseball, basketball, football and other youth sports that both, our foundation and Northgate Market support in our local communities.

Roger Hampel: Have you considered supporting women's sports or soccer clubs as well?

Marco Antonio: Absolutely. For instance, in our camp, it was crucial to include an equal number of boys and girls to provide equal opportunities. We want them to have the same experiences. Our aim is to forge partnerships that can amplify this approach, whether at the youth or professional level.


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