Paraiso Tropical’s story began in the 1980s when Jesus Gonzalez Sr. and his wife, Alba Gonzalez Rivas, left their town of Acajutla, El Salvador and immigrated to Edmonton, Alberta.
Their story is not unique to Albertan history as thousands of Salvadorans fled their homeland amid political and civil unrest at that time.
What made these pioneers unique within the Latin American community was their desire to bring a part of their culture to their new city.
During 1993-1997, there was an increased demand for Latin American products, not only Salvadoran goods, due to the new waves of Latin American immigration.
In 1997, the store relocated to its current location (118 Avenue & 91st Street) on Alberta Avenue. An increased variety of inventory created the necessity for more storage capacity and with the addition of a full commercial kitchen, the current Paraiso Tropical came into existence. The kitchen allowed for more prepared dishes and take-out options: a popular choice among the store’s customers.
In the late 2000s, the youngest of the Gonzalez’s children – Jesus Jr. – took an active role within the family business and is now Paraiso Tropical’s President.
The Gonzalez family announced the opening of their second location (69 Avenue & 104 Street) in 2015 to provide more access to their unique products. Today, many traditional ingredients and foods from all over Latin America fill the shelves of the family-owned store. Paraiso Tropical remains a central hub for Latin Americans in Edmonton.