Alfonso Cano Joins Cardenas Markets as Senior Director of Produce and Floral
ONTARIO, CA - With nearly 30 years of industry experience and a wealth of buyside knowledge under his belt, Alfonso Cano has joined Cardenas Markets as the company’s Senior Director of Produce and Floral. As January wrapped up, I had the chance to chat with the industry veteran as he took a beat to reflect on his years in the industry so far and what is yet to come.
“I have always had great respect and esteem for Cardenas Markets and its family-run feel and go-to-market strategy," Alfonso shares with me. "Cardenas is a big company that works small—a value that allows the company to cultivate strong relationships in the community and retain that family mentality and close-knit culture that shoppers really desire in an age where many corporations are moving further away from that intimate retail experience. I am incredibly excited and honored to join the Cardenas team.”
In operation since 1981, Cardenas operates more than 59 locations throughout California and Las Vegas, Nevada, as well as Phoenix, Mesa, and Tucson, Arizona.
Alfonso comes to Cardenas Markets from his role at the Director level of Floral and Produce for Albertsons Companies—an experience he honors with the utmost gratitude and appreciation.
“I cannot thank the Albertsons team enough for the opportunities they provided me over the past two years,” Alfonso tells me. “My time with Albertsons was the most challenging and rewarding years of my career. It truly was like working in the lion’s den where leaders and the best minds in produce are found. The admiration I have for my peers at Albertsons runs deep and I thank them for their time, their knowledge, and their passion.”
As Alfonso looks to dig into his new role with Cardenas, he shares that one of his main goals is to further expand the prominent Latino market vision and help the company reach its scale and then, of course, to evolve beyond it.
“Cardenas offers the resources and the support to maximize a vision for growth and realizing the format’s full potential,” Alfonso says. “The road ahead is only paved with opportunity.”
During his tenure, Alfonso has had the amazing opportunity to work with grocery teams at Albertsons, Vons, and Northgate Markets, as well, where he enjoyed getting more and more involved with the buying process. Cardenas Markets is currently owned by global investment firm KKR, which made the acquisition in 2016. In 2017, KKR bought another Latino chain, Mi Pueblo, out of bankruptcy and merged it with Cardenas, which operates California’s Bay Area-based Mi Pueblo stores. Cardenas also acquired locations from Los Altos Ranch Market which have been integrated into the Cardenas operating system.
“In terms of values, mission, and industry impact, Cardenas has a fresh leadership team with an energized outlook on the market," he shares. "I am excited to help these leaders execute their vision and expand our presence in fresh produce.”
As you can see—and from what I understood right off the bat—Alfonso’s own passion runs deep. As we talk about his early days in Orange County, California, where he grew up to his work on sales floors and then corporate desks, I realize that Alfonso truly does give himself fully to whatever position he takes and whatever task he invests in. And, since it is winter here in the U.S. we inevitably talk snow, then snowboarding—a passion we both share.
“Traveling around as much as I have during my career, has given me the opportunity to discover parts of the U.S. that are amazing and that I may not have had a chance to experience if I had not gone on the road. The great part about this type of adventure is that you find a deeper love for the things you cherish, like snowboarding, and boy does the U.S. have some incredible mountains,” Alfonso remarks.
As he relays his recent day on a mountain in Utah, I can’t help but see Alfonso as all people should—more than just his role, more than just a father, more than just a snowboarder, runner, and mountain biker (yes, he stays quite busy). The great thing about my job is that you get to see the full person—and a full life.
Congrats, Alfonso, on joining the Cardenas Markets team! We look forward to seeing how you pave the path ahead and what the coveted company has in store!