To Top

Meet Michell and Mario Guajardo of Altadena Grocery Outlet

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michell and Mario Guajardo.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Our story started back in the 90’s where my husband and I met in high school at small town in Twentynine Palms California. We were very young and we had our kids at an early age and lived a very difficult time struggling getting by. We knew we had a family to raise and we had no clue as to where to start and we worked hard doing whatever we could to get by including getting assistance with help from government assisted programs like AFDC and food stamps as well as toys for tots during the holidays.

Mario and I both ended up at Walmart and we worked very hard, both of us becoming store managers running multi-million dollar stores. We were able to give our children everything we didn’t have. After 25 years and 17 years with Walmart we had realized we had worked so much we had missed all the important holidays and all the school track meets our kids had graduated and started a family of their own and in a blink of an eye we were empty nesters. Mario and I had worked long hours and extra days each week that we were always afraid to enjoy any time off because of the store standards we stayed focused on work that we forgot all of the things we worked so hard for that we realized we never saw each other.

We had heard about this company called Grocery Outlet where you can get the opportunity to become owners and we weren’t looking for a career change it just came across our paths. It actually sounded too good to be true so since we had never been in a GO we took a field trip and we got the time to speak to the owners and ask questions. We really started to feel good about GO and how it is family operated and what an impact you could do as an owner. We eventually got the opportunity to get an interview which we had to fly out to Northern California Emeryville where GO homeoffice is. We were told we’re jeans and a Polo as we met the CEO and had eight different executives we met with for the interview. We ended up getting accepted and went into the training program for one year and learned all about GO. We applied for Altadena California where we got accepted and open our doors Dec 13th, 2018. We hired 25 local residence and moved to the community.

I think the most important thing we learned on this journey is importance of family and to always remember where we came from. We help with all different organizations every chance we get. We are honored to help support kids, churches local food banks. This past Thanksgiving we surprised a local low-income retirement home with a full cooked meal. We surprised fire dept with Popsicles during summer. Retirement home with roses. School with Tubs of ice cream. This is just to name a few things I want to share the most important part. My husband and I spend everyday working side by side together. Always wanting to pay it forward. The hidden secret is when you do good for others it’s like a drug it feels so good you want to do it more and more to get that rush. We have been open one year now and we were named business of the year. We feel we have truly showed our ability to shine by helping others and we are very humbled to have been recognized for it. I call myself a penny-pinching millionaire. By no means am I a millionaire it’s just helping others make me feel like I am.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Adapting to being a store owner vs a manager is so different I have learned.

Please tell us about Altadena Grocery Outlet.
We are Grocery Outlet Owner Operators. We strive to make a difference in the community we offer name brand product at bargain prices that will wow you. We buy opportunistically we are like the TJ Max of Grocery. I always say we are Trader Joe’s Meets Marshall’s. Expect more pay less.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would do it all the same every minute. I know we wouldn’t of gotten this opportunity if it wasn’t for Walmart who took a chance on us, We thank God everyday for allowing us to live, love and learn.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 2270 Lake Ave ALtadena CA 91001
  • Phone: (626)314-2700
  • Email:
  • Instagram: altadena_grocery_outlet
  • Facebook: altadena Grocery Outlet

Suggest a story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in