Growing beyond the bodega

The History of Aurora Grocery

The Aurora Grocery Group is a family-owned company with a network of 24 supermarkets across five states. Here’s a look at our growth from humble beginnings.

Our History

The story of the Aurora Grocery Group is a page right out of the American dream. A family arrives in the United States in search of a new opportunity, and that venture leads to generations of success. It’s a tale in our country’s history, and you get a chance to experience it whenever you walk into one of our stores. Here’s a look at how a neighborhood bodega grew into a multistate supermarket empire.

The Story Begins

The 1960s and 1970s were a difficult time for the Dominican Republic as instability led to a civil war and multiple changes in leadership. In the aftermath of the unrest, the first members of the Peña family took a chance by coming to the United States 40 years ago.

Settling in the borough of Queens in New York, the Peñas opened a small neighborhood bodega with the goal of providing local residents with quality groceries and outstanding customer service. For those who lived in this diverse area, the store gained a reputation for providing a slice of home by carrying hard-to-find ingredients.

Growing Beyond the Bodega

With a successful business brewing, the time was right for expansion, and that opportunity came in the form of the family’s first supermarket in Long Island. Opening its doors in late 1989, the first Compare Foods took our original approach to the customer experience and scaled it up in size.

From there, the openings continued as the Peña family started building a successful grocery store chain with each new location proudly showcasing:

A New Beginning

As the success continued, the chance to grow the Compare Foods brand presented itself by selling the brand to a group called Associated Supermarkets. While the level of quality initially stayed the same, a later sale of the name to a private equity firm raised concerns with how the group was run, which is when the Peña family fought to regain control by creating the Aurora Grocery Group. This new family-owned holding company brought the entire network of stores under one umbrella and restored the core values that made our first bodega a success 40 years ago.

As a part of the formation of this new company, they had to bid a fond farewell to the Compare brand, but their dedication to quality continues under the new store names: Gala Fresh, Gala Foods and Compare foods. Today, you can expect the same experience whenever you come to one of our 24 stores across five states:

• New York
• Connecticut
• New Jersey
• Massachusetts
• North Carolina

The Core Values that Define Us

At the Aurora Grocery Group, we do our best to practice our core values every day. Here’s a look at the priorities that define us as a company.

Our Company’s Core Values

It takes dedication to build a small bodega into a chain of successful supermarkets, and that’s exactly what the Aurora Grocery Group did over the course of 40 years. One of the most important ingredients to our success is a top-to-bottom commitment to our company’s set of core values.


Our businesses was created by family and that has been the secret to our success.

Everyone in our network –our employees, our customers, our vendors– are treated like family, because that’s what they are.


Our customers come from all over the world.

By providing them access to a wide array of ethnic ingredients, we connect them to the home they carry in their heart.


We consider it our responsibility to invest in the neighborhoods we serve.

From hiring locally and sponsoring local initiatives, to donating to causes that are important, we understand that being part of the community is not a one-way transaction.

Our Mission Statement

The Aurora Grocery Group proudly produced this mission statement to let customers know what to expect. Here’s where you’ll find our company’s philosophy.

At the Aurora Grocery Group, we proudly serve our customers every day by taking these words to heart:

“We provide the best supermarket experience to the communities we serve. By offering quality products, great value, a welcoming environment and outstanding service, we ensure all our customers feel like family.”

See It in Action

It’s one thing to tell people our mission statement, but this philosophy is only a set of words until our customers actually experience it for themselves.

If you’re ready to get a taste of the dedication our employees bring to each of our stores on a daily basis, find your closest Gala Fresh, Gala Foods or Compare Foods supermarket and see for yourself today.


Stay In Touch

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Contact us today to ask questions and provide feedback.
Thank you for choosing us to meet all of your grocery needs.


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