Bashas’ Family of Stores is expanding the reach of its grocery offerings for the Navajo people with the introduction of a Bashas’ Diné Market in Shiprock, N.M. The Diné Market — Bashas’ ninth grocery store on the Navajo Nation and second New Mexico location — will occupy what is currently a Kroger-owned City Market.
Although Bashas’ is one of very few non-Native-American retailers with stores on the Navajo Nation, Bashas’ Diné Markets have become the modern-day trading post for the Navajo people, says the retailer. Through its history serving the Navajo Nation, Bashas’ has learned a great deal about creating stores by and for the Navajo people, from the products on store shelves to the visual elements that emphasize native design, symbols, and decorative art.
“Bashas’ Diné Markets exist and succeed because of our commitment to the Navajo people,” said Johnny Basha, vice president of special projects for Bashas’ Family of Stores. “From the beginning, we’ve considered it a privilege to work side-by-side with the Navajo, to learn about and from them, and to share in a vision for stimulating economic growth. The strength of this partnership rests largely on the value and emphasis we’ve put into developing our cultural proficiency and creating markets that serve the unique needs of shoppers.”
The City Market will officially close at 8 p.m. on Monday, July 19, and reopen as a Bashas’ Diné Market at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, July 21. Bashas’ will occupy the entire 42,108-square-foot-store, making it the new anchor tenant of the Shiprock /Tse' Bit' A'i Shopping Center at the corner of US-491 and Highway 64.
The transition has been a collaborative effort between Bashas’ and City Market, with the retailers working together closely to provide continuity as the only full-service market in the vicinity changes hands. Bashas’ will hire a majority of the City Market associates who worked at the location. (Some City Market employees will be transferred to other locations.) The store will employ approximately 50 people.
“Our Zero Hunger, Zero Waste social impact plan includes making sure our communities have access to fresh foods and essentials,” said Steve Burnham, City Market president. “With this commitment in mind, we are pleased to be working with Bashas’ as they take over the operation of this location, ensuring that the community continues to have access to the fresh food they need.”
As the Navajo Nation prepares to welcome Bashas’ as its new grocery partner in Shiprock, local tribe leaders are grateful for the contributions City Market (left) made to the community since its opening in 1986.
“On behalf of the 24th Navajo Nation Council, we would like to extend our upmost gratitude to City Market for the years they have served the Shiprock community and the Navajo Nation,” said 24th Navajo Nation council speaker Seth Damon (Bááháálí, Chichiltah, Manuelito, Tsé Łichíí’, Rock Springs, Tsayatoh). “We appreciate Bashas’ stepping up to serve our Navajo people in the Northern Agency with this new grocery store.”
The location will officially reopen as a Bashas’ Diné Market on July 21 to ensure that the community can continue to be served, without the store closing for an extended period of time. Bashas’ anticipates conducting a full store remodel of this location next year.
The new grocery store will provide several economic benefits to the Shiprock community. Each Bashas’ Diné Market location gives back 25% of its profits to the Navajo Nation. Through this profit-sharing arrangement, in addition to rent and percentage rent, Bashas’ has contributed upwards of $48 million to the Navajo Nation for educational scholarship and economic development.
“We appreciate the Basha family’s commitment to acquire the grocery store in the Shiprock/Tse' Bit' A'i Shopping Center,” said Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer. “We welcome this new Bashas’ Diné Market to Shiprock and look forward to seeing the many ways the Navajo Nation will benefit from this partnership.”
Across the Navajo Nation, at least 95% of Bashas’ Diné Market employees are Native American. According to its most recent employment figures, Bashas’ currently employs nearly 500 people on the Navajo Nation.
“This is a great partnership between the Navajo Nation and Bashas’ that will benefit Shiprock and surrounding communities,” said Navajo Nation president Jonathan Nez. “I extend my appreciation to the Bashas’ family for supporting our Navajo communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and going above and beyond to ensure the safety of our community members and employees. With this new venture, we want to continue providing more healthy food and beverage options for our people to empower them to embrace healthy and active living to combat diabetes and other health issues. Congratulations to Bashas’ and the Shiprock community!”
Chandler, Ariz.-based Bashas’ Family of Stores operates more than 100 grocery stores under the banners Food City, AJ's Fine Foods, Eddie's Country Store and both Bashas' and Bashas' Diné. While the majority of stores are located in Arizona, the new Bashas’ Diné store in Shiprock is the chain’s second location in New Mexico.