ANAHEIM, Calif. (Sept. 24, 2019) — A historic downtown space that was the starting point for an iconic Anaheim businesses is set to continue serving the community as a youth learning center.
Anaheim’s City Council on Tuesday voted to spend $1 million to fix up the space along Anaheim Boulevard as a youth center that will teach entrepreneurial, business and job skills.
The space, at 718-744 N. Anaheim Blvd. just south of La Palma Avenue, is the spot of the first Northgate Gonzalez Market that was opened in 1980 by immigrant Don Miguel González Jiménez.
Today, Northgate Gonzalez has more than 40 Mexican-American grocery stores across Southern California with the headquarters of the family business in west Anaheim.
The original store closed in 2017 as Northgate Gonzalez expanded in Anaheim with a new, larger store on State College Boulevard.
The Gonzalez family wanted to ensure the original site continued to serve the neighborhood where Northgate Gonzalez got its start.
“As an immigrant and businessman myself, I know what a difference a project like this can have on a young person’s life,” Mayor Harry Sidhu said. “We have a chance to make good on the Gonzalez family's desire while also doing something really great for young people in our community.”
The Northgate Learning Center Project would include an entrepreneurial academy to teach business skills as well as small-business classes and tutoring and mentorship.
Services are set to be provided by Orange County/Inland Empire Small Business Development Center Network, a nonprofit supported by the federal Small Business Administration, and Youth Interactive, a nonprofit that provides entrepreneurial and business education as well as mentoring for young people.
Update, Nov. 8, 2018: Anaheim has not finalized service providers for the youth center and continues to evaluate options for service providers.
"Encouraging immigrant entrepreneurs is one of the best ways to benefit our economy," District 3 Council Member Jose Moreno said.
The $1 million in city funding will help build out the space. The city’s Community & Economic Development department acquired the 1.1-acre site in 2017 for $4.7 million, using federal Community Development Block Grant funding.
Construction on the Northgate Learning Center Project is expected to begin as early as late 2019.