Los Reyes on Collinsville’s Main Street serves everything from fried tamales to piñatas. The store opens from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and offers everything a small grocery shop would have, with the exception that some of the labels are in Spanish and the confectionery may be spicier than usual.

coll Beatriz Chaves (left) and her daughter, Estephanie Linares, stand inside Los Reyes, their colorful family grocery store and restaurant, on June 15, 2023. (Source: Yahoo! News)

Los Reyes Booming in the Main Street of Collinsville, Alabama

Fresh fruit and cheeses, many of which are exclusive to the city, draw tourists and locals to the Collinsville Main Street. The grocery shop also carries freshly cut meat and Mexican spices in addition to the usual staples like beans, rice, tortillas, delicious desserts, washing soap, and other household necessities, according the news released by Yahoo! News.

There is a tiny restaurant with wall-to-wall booth seating behind the supermarket section. They provide dishes and beverages that are truly Mexican, including tamales, sopes, tacos, popsicles, and aguas frescas. The restaurant also serves classic favorites that are difficult to find, like “la lengua” or beef tongue.

Chavez’s mother opened the first Mexican grocery store in Albertville, Alabama, after the family moved there in 1993. La Orquidea served as its name. Chavez and her sisters moved to the United States in 1995 to live with her parents, who had been living in Gainesville, Georgia, since 1985. Her parents, Jose and Josefina Bonilla relocated to the United States to provide Ivonne Chavez, Chavez’s sister, with greater opportunities. A Mexican grocery shop and restaurant were opened by Beatriz Chavez and her husband Ernesto Linares on July 4, 1997.

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While working as a clerk in her parents’ store, Chavez met her husband, Ernesto. He traveled from Georgia to the Mexican supermarket, and the two got along well. “My husband and I decided to move to Collinsville in 1995 after deciding to get married and start our own business. Here, we intended to start a little business,” Chavez added.

The pair was able to open a second store in Fort Payne as a result of the success of Los Reyes in the Collinsville Main Street. They kept expanding their stores. Although Collinsville residents adore Los Reyes for its mouthwatering cuisine, refreshing popsicles, and genuine Mexican wares, Southern communities have not always welcomed Mexican immigrants with open arms.

When Chavez and her family initially enrolled in school and launched the family business, they encountered resistance. “My family recently opened a little supermarket. The structure had two sizable windows. They were broken numerous times. On occasion, they flung garbage and eggs against the windows and into the parking lot. Before the Hispanic population grew and people began to embrace us here, we had a terrible time throughout those years,” stated Chavez sadly.

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