If you’ve visited various parts of Mexico or even different areas of our city, you know that La Michoacana seems to be everywhere. But what are these large, colorful shops all about? Because their principal product is paletas, a frozen fruit bar on a stick available in several flavors, the shops are called paleterías. The brand name reflects the company’s place of origin, the state of Michoacán, which extends from the Pacific to central Mexico.
There are several stories about La Michoacana’s beginnings. One says that in the ‘60s an ice cream maker from Tocumbo, Michoacán, went to work in the United States, using his savings when he returned home to open the ice cream and popsicle business. Another says that in the early ‘30s Agustín Andrade and Ignacio Alcazar, also from Tocumbo, moved to Mexico City, where they worked in a paletería and ultimately opened their own. Upon taking their business to Michoacan, they were imitated by other entrepreneurs.
La Michoacana was brought to Puerto Vallarta 36 years ago by Manuel Davalos and Lucila Gutierrez. Davalos was invited to visit Puerto Vallarta when he was exploring Guadalajara as a location for a store. Impressed by the town’s charms, they opened the first store in Colonia Emiliano Zapata, across from the old Cine Bahia, and then moved just a block from the current location, just off the Malecon and a block from the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The business enjoyed 19 successful years there thanks to their loyal customer base.
“Years ago, a Canadian arrived with map in hand looking for us, saying our products had been widely recommended to him. And we vouch for the quality of our product,” relates a proud Susana Davalos, daughter of Manuel and Lucia. And that quality is not only recognized by tourists, locals saying going downtown without having a lime drink made for them is like not going downtown. Obviously, the lime drink is a customer favorite, using just the citrus fruit for natural sweetness.
Actually, many families migrated from Michoacán to other parts of Mexico and even the United States to bring their own version of La Michoacana. This gave rise to various paleterías that, although recipes may vary slightly depending on the franchise, are known for their clean and reliable production process. Their names invariably include “La Michoacana,” with another word sometimes added, and all feature an open front exhibiting the freezers that store their paletas, fruit and fruit drinks.
Morelos & Zaragoza,
Francisco I. Madero & Constitución,
Plaza Marina Sección E,
Emiliano Zapata & 20 de Noviembre,