With exposure, one becomes immune to meanings and implications of certain omnipresent names. For example, when the convenience store, 7-11, first opened the name signified they were unique by being open from 7AM to 11PM.
Here are the most successful names in San Miguel with how the name came to be and what it stands for today.
Oxxo, an ubiquitous presence in Mexican cities and towns since 1977, is a Mexican chain of convenience stores with over 18,000 stores. Oxxo is the largest and fastest growing convenience store chain the Americas featuring over a dozen stores in San Miguel.
Whenever you see a procession in San Miguel featuring two elders, father and mother, they are the ancient gods Cipactonal and Oxomoco who taught mankind complex rites. Think of them as a kind-of indigenous version of the Western Adam and Eve story. From her, we have the name of our local 7-11’s, Oxxo.
Liverpool is a high end retailer which operates the largest chain of department stores in Mexico. When I first visited a Liverpool store I was surprised to learn long dresses were so popular, like a year-long prom season. With time and experience I learned long dresses are frequented worn at birthday parties, wedding, baptisms and alike. Mexican women like to dress as if they were going to the Emmys and Liverpool has the couture.
Liverpool, first called The Cloth Case, was founded in 1847 when a French lad started selling clothes in Mexico City. In 1872, he started importing merchandise from Europe with much of the merchandise shipped via Liverpool, England, prompting Liverpool to be the name of the stores.
Merchandise at Liverpool is often very expensive and of varying quality. If planning to buy a lot of appliances, or furniture, it is strategic to wait for one of their big sales and apply for a credit card to purchase with for further discounts.
My then teen children immediately picked up on the irony, upon moving to town, that the most popular, and widely advertised, fast food restaurant was called Pollo Feliz, or Happy Chicken. How happy was even the bird-brained to be murdered, then eaten?
Irony aside, Pollo Feliz has been Mexico’s favorite chicken since 1975 offering grilled chicken prepared with a special recipe, along the lines of the Colonel’s eleven herbs and spices. Pollo Feliz is the most recognized grilled chicken brand in Mexico with over 500 stores including 3 here in San Miguel infamous for their half priced Wednesdays.
La Europea was founded in Mexico City in 1953, continuing to operate in the sale of wines, spirits and gourmet foods while strategically located in the most important points of Mexico’s high-end tourism sector. Named to imply one from the across the pond continent to accentuate the store’s leadership in importing wines for the Mexican market.
There are several gated communities surrounding San Miguel built to attract the second (third or fourth) home market for the 1 to 2% of income earners living in Mexico City, San Miguel’s target tourism market. Developers have built immense communities offering golf courses, equestrian centers, helicopter pads, wineries and alike. Whatever that developer thinks will attract Mexico City’s uber-wealthy to own property here.
One of the most successful developments is built around an assisted care facility for those with dementia called Los Labradores. Folks from Canada, Europe and the US will place a loved one in a facility here because it is less expensive for around the clock care than back home, even with insurance. I’ve met many folks living in town that venture out to Los Labradores to visit their resident spouse.
My dog was a Three King’s Day gift a dozen years ago and was named for one the three kings, Jasper, and Tallulah Bankhead’s Alabama hometown. Once he arrived in Mexico, local children petting him knew instantly Jasper, now called Gaspar, was one of the kings bringing them holiday gifts. Rarely do they know who Tallulah Bankhead was.
by Joseph Toone
- TripAdvisor’s top tour guide in San Miguel de Allende with History and Culture Walking Tours and Joseph Toone Tours.
- Amazon’s best selling author of the San Miguel de Allende’s Secrets book series on history, holidays, tours and living in San Miguel