The Ruiz family

Hugo and Rocio Ruiz are starting their lives together in Le Center with their daughter Rosita. After marrying last year, the couple opened La Tamaulipeca together, a store and restaurant featuring Mexican food and products. (Carson Hughes/Le Sueur County News)

With shelves lined with Jarritos, salsas and snack foods packaged with Spanish labels, La Tamaulipeca Tienda y Taqueria (store and restaurant specializing in tacos) might have appeared out of place in a town like Le Center just a few years ago. But with a growing Hispanic population in the area, store owners Hugo and Rocio Ruiz saw an opportunity to create for a one-stop-shop for customers to buy Mexican products.

“We want to have lots of satisfied customers,” the Ruizes said through an interpreter. “And to have people come here and find most of what they want here, because we have to go to other places to find Mexican food and Mexican groceries and stuff. This will be a place for Mexican people to find — Hispanic people to find — whatever they are looking for.”

And beyond that, the couple hopes it’ll be a destination for the whole community of Le Center.

At the time of the interview, the Ruizes stated that they planned to open La Tamaulipeca during the week of the 24th-30th, though they weren’t certain which day it would officially open. Their goals were to open the shop and restaurant “as soon as possible.”

The restaurant will serve dishes, like tacos and burritos, with fresh cheese and avocado, the same way they would be made in Mexico.

“They are going to be made Mexican style from where we come from,” said Rocio.

La Tamaulipeca will be a new experience for the family. While Hugo is no stranger to being a business owner, this will be his first time running a restaurant.

“This is going to be the first one I have food in,” said Hugo Ruiz. “I have a Mexican store over in Faribault. We also sell meat over there, but we don’t have a restaurant. This is going to be the first one with a restaurant in it.”

Hugo is a recent arrival to Le Center, having moved to the town just one year ago after marrying his wife Rocio, and together the recently wedded couple raise their young daughter Rosita. Wanting to create a business together, the couple decided to open La Tamaulipeca, named after Rocio’s hometown in Mexico.

“I live here and decided to make something here and I wanted to make something with the love of my life,” said Hugo on building La Tamaulipeca in Le Center.

The couple’s hope is that the La Tamaulipeca will become a place for the Le Center community and surrounding areas to shop.

“More than anything that people will come and it will grow like a family and like a business,” said Rocio.

“We’re hoping to make the town grow a little bit more with this business,” said Hugo. “And to have the people respond to this business and provide a service to the community and to grow as a business in said community … To have people in other towns come and visit us.”

Reach Reporter Carson Hughes at 507-931-8572.

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