USDA B&I guaranteed loan helps family-owned grocery source local food and create jobs

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Jennifer Green-Lanchoney
(805) 928-9269 x104
Produce from Carnival Supermarket in Chula Vista, Calif. (Courtesy photo)

It is often difficult for local farms to compete with large grocery stores, but with funding though Grandpoint Bank, sourced by their Regents La Jolla office, and USDA Rural Development’s Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan program, Third & L, LLC built its third Carnival Supermarket, which sources a significant portion of its products locally.

As well as catering to the Hispanic community, Carnival Supermarket acquires 30 percent of their dairy, seafood and produce products from local agriculture producers. Additionally, they provide locally produced products such as bulk prepared salads, kabobs, prepared meats, bakery breads, tortillas and pastries.

“We are excited that this family-owned grocer supports more than 25 farms in the surrounding areas,” said Karen Rich, California USDA Rural Development Rural Business and Cooperative Program Director. “In addition to being a new place for local consumers to shop, the new store has created more than 100 jobs for the local community.” 

When the location was vacated in 2014 by the previous tenant, also a supermarket, it created a void for both the industry and job market. In 2015 Carnival Supermarket bought and renovated the location and opened its doors in August of 2016.

“We aim at offering local products at lower prices, we want local food to be accessible to people, the funding made it possible for us to source these products,” said Fanar Salem, Chief Executive Officer for Third & L, LLC. “Local farms face a fierce competition from many directions and having the extra funds made it possible for a family business like ours to support locally grown products.” 

Although USDA Rural Development typically invests in rural areas, some projects may be funded in urban areas under the Local and Regional Food System Initiative if they market locally or regionally produced agricultural food products to support community development and farm or ranch income. 

“This project and others like it enable farmers to provide their products to a larger market,” said Rich. “It certainly improves the quality of the choices people have, and the economic health of rural communities.”

Fast Facts

Obligation Amount$ 3.6 Million
Date of ObligationFebruary 2017
Congressional DistrictVargas (51)
Senator's Last NamesFeinstein, Harris