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5 de Mayo Offers Latin American Groceries in Bealeton

5 de Mayo Offers Latin American Groceries in Bealeton

5 de Mayo Convenience Store and Deli first opened its doors to the Bealeton community back in 2008. Back then it was located off Marsh Road where Nick’s Market and Deli stands today. Although the store changed locations 4 years ago, it still remains an important part of the community today.

The business was started after the owner, Delmi Velasquez, moved to the area and noticed a demand for Hispanic groceries.

“When I moved to Bealeton I took a look at the businesses and I noticed that there were no Hispanic grocery stores. I had to travel outside the community for basic grocery items,” Velasquez said.

The store was named 5 de Mayo under previous management and after purchasing it, Velasquez wanted to stay true to the origins of the store.

“I did not change the name because I didn’t want the Mexican community to think that I was trying to change the purpose of the business because I’m from El Salvador,” said Velasquez.

After renting the store for 10 years, the contract for 5 de Mayo expired and the lease could not be renewed. This was very upsetting for Velasquez as this meant she had to close her business, thus taking away her livelihood. For 6 months all of the products sold at 5 de Mayo had to be put away into storage, as there was no longer a building to house them.

While the end of the contract and subsequent closing of the store brought tough challenges for Velasquez, it ended up being a blessing as her husband was able to find a new building on Remington Road. While Velasquez was apprehensive at first, the new location brought in more customers than the previous one. Not only that, Velasquez is no longer renting a building, she is owning one. 

“For the six months that we were closed, I cried every single day. But at the end of the day, God always has something in store for you. Now that we changed locations, I have more customers than I did over there and now I can say that this is my own place,” said Velasquez.

While Velasquez managed to overcome the obstacles of closing and changing locations, another obstacle was on the horizon. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic struck Virginia and hit small businesses hard. While most businesses were negatively impacted by the pandemic, this was not the case for 5 de Mayo.

“The pandemic was the best time for the store. I did not close a single day. My employees could no longer work during the pandemic for various reasons, but it was never an issue [for us]. I know that a lot of people were sick and died during the pandemic, but I thank God that nobody in my family was ever sick,” said Velasquez.

Although business did not slow down too drastically, there were still issues with supply.

“The problem was that the produce no longer came. My husband had to go to Washington, D.C., and Manassas to find produce,” said Velasquez.

While 5 de Mayo may be a Latin American convenience store affectionately named after the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the French Empire in 1862, there is a lot more diversity in the customer base than one might be quick to assume.

“People from everywhere come in – Mexicans, Colombians, Hondurans, Salvadorans. For this reason, I do not discriminate against anyone. I have a lot of American customers as well. They tend to come in for the meats, like the fajitas and the chicharron. 5 de Mayo is for everyone,” said Velasquez.

The main purpose of 5 de Mayo is to provide convenience and offer a wide variety of products that people might not find at other retailers in the area, such as Food Lion or Safeway.

“The business is convenient. If somebody forgets something when they go to a bigger store, whether it’s beans or rice, they know they can find it here. A lot of people come in for medicine or to send money to different countries or change checks,” said Velasquez.

Not only is 5 de Mayo convenient, but it also makes a significant impact on the community by having a store that specializes in Hispanic goods, whereas otherwise, customers would have to travel outside of the community to meet their basic needs.

“It’s nice to have a store where people who might not be fluent in English can come in and have someone that understands the language and traditions of Latin American culture. When you come in here you know that we come from the same place so there’s a sense of familiarity, whether it’s the employees or the products we sell,” said Velasquez.

A big part of 5 de Mayo’s success can be attributed to the way in which Velasquez interacts with customers. Upon entering the store, you are greeted and met with a friendly smile. Velasquez goes out of her way to ensure that customers feel welcomed and she does not hesitate to meet the needs of each individual customer.

“My customers are like family. We have some people that have been with us from the very start. I even have customers from Culpeper and Warrenton too. When you have a good relationship with customers and there’s a sense of mutual respect, people want to make the trip,” said Velasquez.

The positive attitude and appreciation that Velasquez has for life itself is something that everyone should learn from. There are many factors that have contributed to the success of 5 de Mayo, but at the end of the day, it is who Velasquez is as a person who inspires people and draws them to the store.

“I wake up every day and thank God for another day. Every day that the sun shines is a blessing from God. My business is successful, so I have no complaints, whether I have a lot of customers or not,” said Velasquez.

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About the Contributor
Christian Jordan
Christian Jordan, News Editor
Hey everyone! My name is Christian and I am a senior here at Liberty High School. This will be my third and final year working with the Patriot Press. Although I was not born in Fauquier County, living here has inspired me to explore the history and geography of the county. I enjoy researching and visiting historic sites, as well as local businesses and new developments. I love music as well. My favorite artists are Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and M.I.A. I love traveling and learning about different parts of the world.

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