For 30 years, Gomez Mini Mart has stood on the corner of Eighth and West Lycoming streets in Hunting Park. The locally operated grocery has withstood changing owners, economic downturns and even violent shootings outside the door.
In February, two masked men robbed the market at gunpoint and shot owner Arthur Rosario’s brother, Marcelino. He survived the gun shot wound and can still be found many days camped out in his brother’s store.
Arthur’s place had another hit almost eight months ago, when Jerez Grocery #2 opened just around the corner on Lycoming Street.
Despite the new competition, Rosario said he is not worried about business.
“Not much has changed. Everybody comes here. We got everything,” he said.
It’s the neighborhood regulars who really keep a local grocery like Gomez’s in business. Rosario said it is due to his regulars that he survives.
Cesar Sena, who has manned the counter for the last three years, said he enjoyed relaxing with Rosario and other customers that pass through.
It’s a tight squeeze through the narrow aisles, but there seems to be at least four men hanging around the door, breezing through for a chat or to watch the Spanish news on the television mounted on the wall.
Gomez Mini Mart may have taken some hits, but a long history and well established routine will keep it in the neighborhood.