Jesus Cardenas, founder of Cardenas Markets chain, dies at age 73

A Cardenas Market in Fontana.
A Cardenas Market in Fontana.
Courtesy Cardenas Market

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Jesus Cardenas, a Mexican migrant worker who built a successful supermarket chain in Southern California, has died. He was 73.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise reports that Cardenas, who lived in Rancho Cucamonga, died March 5 of cancer.

His Cardenas Markets chain has some 30 stores in Southern California and Las Vegas, employing more than 3,000 workers.

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Cardenas came to the United States as a teenager from Jalisco, Mexico. He worked at local farms and in the 1970s traded some tools for a pregnant pig. That was the start of a successful hog farm. In 1981, he opened the first Cardenas Market in Ontario, selling meat and ethnic foods.

Cardenas was president and CEO for three decades. His wife is a vice president and his four children are involved in operations.

This story has been updated from an earlier version: Cardenas died on March 5