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Re-imagining an 89106 Original

Celebrating the grand opening of a new location

by Joseph C. Abraham


In United States of America, from January 3, 2020, to October 12, 2023, there have been 103,436,829 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1,127,152 deaths, reported to the World Health Organization.


The economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. will reach US$14 trillion by the end of 2023, our team of economists, public policy researchers and other experts have estimated.  Consequently the Biden Harris Administration, working with Congress, developed a strategy to revitalize the economy.  As a result, the American Rescue Plan Act, allowed for a partial funding of the purchase and renovation of 1425 W. Lake Mead (formerly CVS).  On Monday, October 30, 2023, the staff of Mario’s Westside Market will welcome members of the community for its official ‘Grand Opening’.


What does this mean for the community?  As I walked the store this afternoon with its Managing Partner Mario Berlanga, Jr. I was simply amazed.  Mario’s Westside Market has been a staple in the community since 1997.  Now with vendors loading in product, for the first time, I was able to walk through the new location and I could hardly contain my excitement.  In its previous location, the store had approximately one hundred and twenty five (125) linear feet of shelving.  In the new location, customers will be amazed to find five hundred and eighty (580) linear feet of shelving.  That is an increase of over 450%.  


“Being able to stock additional product lines in quantities more closely comparable to a large retail chain’s ‘Neighborhood Store’ allows us to lower our prices 6-10%.  This represents a savings that members of our community so desperately need.  While it is impossible to compete with the pricing of larger box stores, the increase in our capacity certainly helps to drive those prices down.  We have even received the go-ahead from our primary food distributor that we will begin offering ‘Case Lot’ sales, at least twice per year.”


In addition to lower prices, an increase in capacity means the community will now see an increase in product offerings.  For instance, fresh produce offerings will expand.   “Members of the community have asked for healthier options and with the additional space, we plan to expand our produce section.  We are in talks with Tameka Henry of the Obodo Collective ( to offer products that are locally grown right here on the Historic Westside.”


As someone who has worked in several commercial kitchens, I was certainly excited as we began the tour of the back of the house.  A vast proofing and baking area has been added.  “We will be baking fresh French Bread daily!  That is in addition to cakes, donuts, and an entire assortment of pastries.”  Of course, Mario’s Westside Market’s World-Famous Catfish Steak will not only be served up inside, but they will soon be able to order from the newly installed drive thru.  As our tour concluded, electricians were beginning to program the new digital menu boards.


“I would like to take this opportunity to first, thank the community.  Our team has approached this relaunch by first listening to our customers.  We have expanded our offerings and can’t wait to open our doors.  I would also like to thank our local elected officials who provided the funding we needed to close this deal.  On Monday, October 30, 2023, I invite each of you to come and visit the new Mario’s Westside Market.” 


This story is re-printed with the permission of The Urban Voice.

 The original story can be found here:

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