Text and Photos by Guillermo Rojas Tulsa, OK
Francisco Ibarra is the one of the owners of Supermercados Morelos, and has become one of the most respected Hispanic entrepreneurs in Tulsa. With more than eight stores in the state of Oklahoma, Morelos is vivid proof that business growth can be linked to solidarity and true caring for the community.
“This is a legacy bequeathed by our grandparents,” said Ibarra about the values of charity supported by Morelos. “My Dad loved helping the community and we just follow his example, trying to commit to the community wherever we serve.”
Today, Morelos participates actively in a myriad of charity events around the cities of Tulsa and Oklahoma City, with an emphasis on education and culture as the main pillars of their investments. The supermarket chain has direct liaisons with the schools that serve the communities where it has stores, and offers free food and products at different school events.
“Sponsoring education and culture is the key to sustaining a healthy and productive community, which is why we are supporting the creation of Casa de la Cultura, a place in North Tulsa where the whole community will be able to take dancing, singing, painting and all kinds of artistic lessons.”
Ibarra is becoming a local philanthropist, a visionary entrepreneur who understands how to play an important role in a city full of privileges in which he has the obligation to contribute in order to create a healthier society. For his business to grow, he needs the community to develop, and this helps motivate Ibarra’s charitable activities related to the expansion of culture, ideas and education for the Hispanic community in Tulsa.
“At the end of the day, the only thing we try to do is to give back to our community, to our clients,” Ibarra said.
Most wonder if Morelos’ success will last forever, a family business that is now in the hands of the second generation of founders who want to expand the business to other states. But Mexican traditional values, above all honor and honesty, seem to mark the pace of business.
“Working with your family is not easy, you fight a lot, but we are always guided by the same principles and those values have helped us in times of trouble, and this is the legacy of our parents,” Ibarra said proudly.
Morelos has four stores in Oklahoma City and four others in Tulsa, and looks forward to expanding to other states like Texas. Nevertheless, Ibarra is not a man of high hopes and prefers sticking to the ground and flying low.
“I have never dreamed big, I enjoy every step of the way,” he said.
Morelos develops even in times of Trump, because, as Ibarra recognizes, Tulsa has become a great city for immigrants.
“People will only stop coming to the store when they hear anti-immigrant comments on the news, or are afraid of immigration raids. Only then the sales will drop for three days or so, until they need to go to the supermarket again,” Ibarra said. “The truth is we live in a marvelous city in which all the authorities cherish the work of the immigrant community. We live in a place that brings us peace, and the only thing we need to do is abide our laws.”
Respecting and cherishing the laws of America are the secret ingredient of Morelos’ success and Tulsa’s, which is why Ibarra advises all the businessmen in the state to carry on with their mission aware of their social responsibility.
“Don’t forget the community that supports you, a healthy community that defends family values is the key to success,” Ibarra said. (La Semana)