HAWARDEN—Mayra and Juan Huerta held the grand opening of their Mexican grocery store Friday, highlighting their investment into their hometown and making their American dream come true.

La Hispana Grocery at 907 Central Avenue in Hawarden is open 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

“It has been a longtime dream that we have had since we moved to Hawarden eight years ago,” Mayra Huerta said. “Our first weekend open has been very busy, we have had a great response and support from the community and we are very thankful for that.”

Mayra said the name of the store was something that came to them easily. They had it picked out since day one as it translates to “the Hispanic grocery store.” The store has had its name since Mayra and her husband purchased the building three years ago.

“Since the day we purchased the building in downtown Hawarden, three years ago, with the vision of one day opening a ‘Mexican store’ and I say Mexican store in parentheses because it’s a store for all the diverse people in our community, not just Mexicans,” Mayra said. “That is just the common name used for this kind of store.”

La Hispana Grocery offers a variety of authentic Mexican and Central American products. At the meat counter they offer cow tongue, pig feet and cow feet.

The store also has fresh pan dulce, which is Mexican sweet bread, and bolillos, which is traditional Mexican rolls, delivered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“Our intentions is not to compete with any of our local stores, but to add a little more variety of foods typical to our home countries,” Mayra said. “We also offer money transfers to many countries, check cashing and bill pay. Our goal for the store it to serve the growing Hispanic community of Hawarden and surrounding towns and to keep business and dollars in Hawarden.”

Mayra and Juan have three children — two daughters, Sofia, 11, and Mariana, 3, and one son, Adan, 10. The family had to travel to stores in Sioux Center or Sioux City to do a lot of the purchases and transactions.

She also has been overwhelmed by the kindness and support of the people who have come in and helped get the story ready. She thanked the electricians, plumbers and how tight of schedules they had but still helped her to get things done by deadline.

She thanked Larry Nilson, who has been helpful with picking up kids from school and other places, and all the family and friends who helped Mayra and her family make this dream a reality

“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart,” she said.

Mayra was joined at the grand opening by chamber director Julie Coyle and members of the Hawarden Chamber.

The chamber hosted a ribbon cutting Friday. Mayra joined the chamber because she felt it was important.

“It is such an important step to do if you have a business in Hawarden,” Mayra said. “I saw just how united the chamber members are as they showed up at our grand opening last Friday. It was a very neat experience.”

Along with the chamber, Hawarden Economic Development director Carol Hoogestrat has provided a helpful hand.

“Carol was a big help,” Mayra said. “From how to get started to the permits I needed, she made it easier to navigate this exciting journey. The girls in the city office and the city utility workers and Wanda have been so good to work with as well, it literally took a village.”