was opened by Jose A. Marti Fuentes
. During the company's formative years, it operated small supermarkets across the island; these would be located at small strip malls. Many towns in Puerto Rico
had multiple Supermercados Amigo
After the Grand Union
and Coop Supermarkets
companies ceased operations in Puerto Rico, Amigo
began plans to become a major player in Puerto Rico's supermarket industry. In 1989, they opened their first major store, located at Plaza del Carmen Mall
, in Caguas
. Subsequently, many other major stores were opened across Puerto Rico. A massive television
campaign began, and their slogan, Amigo, lo mejor al mejor precio
(Amigo, the best at the best prices
) became a household phrase in Puerto Rico.
Amigo ran into serious economic problems in the 1990s, most of them having to do with employee salary. As a consequence, the company began losing money. There were several strikes
, and these received wide media attention.
In July 2004, in what became a controversial business move, American
retail giant Wal-Mart
took over Supermercados Amigo. Claims of unfair competition and monopoly were instantly made by smaller supermarkets, because Amigo would be backed by the strong assets of Wal-Mart. As part of the agreement made in order for the purchase to take place, various supermarket locations had to be closed (specifically if there was a Wal-Mart or Sam's Club nearby). The closed Amigos became part of a new (at the time) supermarket company known as "SuperMax".
The structure of the supermarkets themselves was not changed because of the purchase, the only exception being that now customers may pay for their purchases with their respective Sam's Club or Wal-Mart Credit Cards.