Saugerties is changing.
Along with 30-somethings moving up from the city to buy a house and settle down in the country, the past 10 years have also witnessed an increase in the town’s Latino population.
Mario Flores noticed. The Mexican-born business owner has run a grocery in Poughkeepsie for the past few years and had been looking to move to a smaller town with better schools. Not that long ago, there wasn’t much of a population for a Hispanic grocery in Saugerties. Now, Flores thinks there is. So does his step-son, Edwin Velazquez, who will be there more often.
The new Main Street Saugerties grocery store is called Yalexa.
According to data from the 2010 census, Hispanics and Latinos make up 4.9 percent of the town population, and the Velazquez’ hope to tap into that market.
They also hope that non-Spanish residents will come in and see what they have to offer.
“We are bringing Spanish products to the Spanish population and Americans as well,” said Mario.
“American people like Spanish food,” he added.
The two have run a shop in Poughkeepsie for the last several years but wanted to move into a community that had a need for a Spanish food grocery.
Presently the small store has only two aisles of products but as customers let the couple know what they want, “we will begin to carry more items,” said Flores.
They are also still awaiting deliveries of more items, he noted.
During the summer, Edwin promises the shop will be serving Spanish ices to help customers keep cool. They will also be selling tamales on the weekends.
As of yet, the grocery store has no formal sign, just a handwritten one taped in the window. They are still awaiting approval for their formal sign from village officials, Edwin explained.
Yalexa is located at 282B Main Street.