New local supermarket gets spiced up Spanish style

By Christine Wolstenholme

   

Maribell and Hoover Rengifo left Colombia for a better life and a chance at the American Dream nine years ago.  Their supermarket and deli, Olimpica, opened six months ago and business has been great.

The Rengifo couple, married for eight years, lived in Tampa for a while before moving to Land O’ Lakes.  They saw that there weren’t many Spanish markets or grocery stores in the area so they saw an opportunity to open one of their own.

“Olimpica means to win, to be huge.  I believe how you name it is how it’s going to be,” said Maribell, whose brother named the store.

Watermelons and pineapples greet you at the front door and a Spanish radio station plays all day, everyday in the supermarket, which is located at 19017 US 41 N. 

The Rengifo’s have a lot of products shipped from other countries including Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Puerto Rico.  The market offers a wide range of Spanish products such as,

Fresh produce like mangoes, papaya and plantains,

Spanish spices like ancho chili pods and linden flower,

Flan and majarete, a corn pudding

Tropical drinks made from aloe vera, tamarind juice, guanabana and pear nectar,

Chorizo, chicken, ribeye steaks, pork and an arrangement of Spanish cheeses.

 

The Rengifo’s also offer homemade empanadas and stuffed yucca/casaba.  They have fresh baked bread, homemade soups and homemade sandwiches, but their Cuban sandwiches are their most popular product.  The twelve-inch sandwiches cost $5.49 and the six-inches are $3.49.  “We use a seasoned pork, they’re delicious,” said Maribell.    

“I’m a regular here.  I come for the meat, the Spanish food and the excellent service,” said Mario Rivas of Lutz.

Olimpica also sells a lot of their “Deli Fruity Ice Cream Bars,” which come in coconut, passion fruit, blackberry, mango, pineapple and cheese and guava flavors.  The store, which is operated by family and friends, also sells plenty of the American products you would find in a corner store. 

Maribell, who learned how to speak English just by listening to others when she moved to America, said that their clientele is about 50-50, half Spanish and half American.  “Americans love Spanish food.”

Aside from food, Olimpica sells lottery tickets and has a Metro PCS station set up inside the store.  It’s like a typical convenience store in the neighborhood.  “People can buy phones or pay their bills,” says Hoover.  The Rengifo’s also have a wire system that sends money to other countries, similar to Western Union.  They’ll also send products like toys and clothes to other countries.  “We miss home.  We wish we could combine both countries,” said Maribell.

Business has been good thus far said Maribell, “We’re thinking positive about it, we see a big opportunity here.”  Hoover, who owned a small electronics store when he lived in Colombia joked, “Maribell does the money and the business, I just work here.”

The Rengifo’s have two children, Alejandro, 4, and Sebastian, 2, and they can be seen around the store from time to time.  The store is open Mon-Fri 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., on Sat from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sun 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Olimpica supermarket and deli is located at 19017 US 41 N., just passed Lutz Lake Fern Rd.  For more information Maribell can be reached at (813) 909- 8929.

Advertisements

4 Responses to “New local supermarket gets spiced up Spanish style”

  1. usfadvancedreporting Says:

    Good job with the description of the store. I would probably cut down on the list of foods at the end of the first graph.

  2. usfadvancedreporting Says:

    Another good perspective on this story would be how the demographics have been changing in L O’ L and how this market illustrates that change. My Dominican friend graduated from Land O Lakes high in 1999, and he was about the only hispanic in his class.

  3. Priscilla Says:

    Good story, but too many unecessary information.

  4. usfadvancedreporting Says:

    I love the concept of the story and the quotes.

    Make sure you are attributing some of the dangling quotes and ideas like “The business has been great,” because it shouldn’t sound like the reporter is doing an advertisement for them. And maybe explain what some of the Spanish names of the foods mean, because not all people may know.

    Other than that, I think the story was very interesting and it makes me want to go there because Iove Spanish food.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: