If not for Fiesta Foods, a Hispanic-themed grocery store located in Amarillo’s historic barrio district, there might not have been a parade for last month's Tri-State Fair & Rodeo.

When Ken Copheranham, who owns the store with his wife, Kaki, and son, Jarrett, got word that there was a funding gap, his family-owned business took action.

“We underwrote the expenses for the parade,” Copheranham said. “We made it possible for the parade to happen.”

But underwriting the parade is only part of Fiesta Foods’ involvement in the community.

Over the years, the store has made donations of school supplies to students at nearby Sanborn Elementary School.

“Fiesta Foods stepped up in big way by sponsoring the parade,” said David Rosas, vice president of the Barrio Neighborhood Plan Committee. "But my biggest impression is when they bought the children at Sanborn school supplies. It speaks volumes to me about Ken’s character and community service.”

Copheranham said the business sponsors many small events around the city and Little League sports teams.

For its service to the Hispanic community, Fiesta Foods was presented the Business Community Services award at the Hispanic Heritage Luncheon last week.

Rosas said he shops at Fiesta Foods, located at 10th Avenue and Arthur Street, nearly everyday.

“It is the best place in town to buy tortillas,” he said.

Rosas said he is older than Copheranham.

“I have known them (the Copheranhams) since the late 1970s,” he said. “Ken worked there as a young boy doing what the son of grocery store owner does. They made quite a business there.”

Copheranham said he “grew up doing everything.”

Though the store has been in the barrio for four decades, it didn’t start out as a Hispanic-themed grocery.

The history of the store is documented in the “Historic Barrio Book,” which was recently published by the Amarillo Barrio Historical District Task Force.

The Copheranham family moved to Amarillo in 1978 when Ken’s father, Bob, bought Scivally’s Affiliated Food Store on East 10th Avenue. Upon purchasing the store, the name Scivally’s was changed to Bob’s Thrifty Foods.

Ken was 12 years old then and began working in the store. Ten years later, Ken and Kaki bought the original location on East 10th Avenue from Bob, changing the name to Ken’s Venture Foods.

In 1983, Bob purchased the Taylor & Sons store, located at 10th Avenue and Arthur Street, and changed the name to Bob’s Supermarket. When Bob retired in 1989, Ken and Kaki bought the 10th Avenue and Arthur Street location and changed the name to Ken’s Supermarket. Ken and Kaki ran both stores until 1994 when they decided to close the family’s original location. In 1999, they converted Ken’s Supermarket into a Hispanic-themed concept. In an effort to make the store more comfortable for the barrio customer, Ken’s Supermarket was transformed into Fiesta Foods and has been thriving for two decades.

The business is now in its third generation of Copheranham ownership.

Ken and Kaki’s son, Jarrett, grew up working in the store. After graduating from Texas A&M University, Jarrett moved back to Amarillo and managed the store. Jarrett is now a part owner and oversees Fiesta Foods in Amarillo, Pampa and Midland.

“We believe strongly in that community and in the last three years have done a complete remodel in that store and reinvestment in that location,” Copheranham said. “We take care of the customers in the way we have always done and are going to be putting in a second location in the southwest part of town in the next two to three months. The most special thing about Fiesta Foods is how we cater to our neighborhood. We converted from a conventional supermarket to more of a Hispanic-themed store. We brought in all-Hispanic foods, we have bilingual department descriptors and we play Hispanic music to make our customers feel more comfortable.”