Fitting with the stunning natural beauty of the Navajo Nation—which spans 27,000 square miles across parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah—and the authenticity of its native people, Bashas’ recently remodeled Diné Market in Window Rock, Ariz., is a unique store with equally distinctive attributes.
Designed to pay homage to the community with traditional decor, colors, signage and locally commissioned artwork, Bashas’ newly transformed Diné Market boasts a vastly expanded selection of healthy, easy-to-identify food options that are evident “from the moment shoppers step through the doors,” says Store Director and Navajo Nation member Corrine Mitchell.
Evolving to become a modern-day trading post for its citizens, Bashas’ is one of very few non-Native American retailers with stores on the Navajo Nation. Since opening its first reservation store in Chinle, Ariz., 35 years ago, Bashas’ has been a collaborative partner of the Navajo Nation, supporting education, nutrition, art, health and wellness. Nearly 100% of store teams at Bashas’ Diné Markets—which specialize in the needs of Navajo, Apache and Tohono O’odham customers with products such as Blue Bird flour for fry bread, mutton and wool—are Native American, and each store location gives back a percentage of its profits to the Navajo Nation.
A Nod to the Navajo
Among the store’s most striking features are 21 pieces of art from renowned local Navajo artists that are displayed throughout, which underscore “the testament to our company’s commitment to serve the people of the Navajo Nation,” says Johnny Basha, SVP of special projects for the Chandler, Ariz.-based retailer.
A key part of the mission of the present Navajo Nation administration, led by President Russell Begaye and VP Jonathan Nez, is tackling the diabetes epidemic. In turn, they called on Bashas’ to provide more healthy foods, including a larger variety of fruits and vegetables. The end result does not disappoint.
The expanded fresh produce department features new wet racks and display cases, which allows shoppers to access a larger variety of fruits and vegetables, including a wider selection of organics.
In that vein, the upgraded Window Rock Diné offers a wide variety of nutritious, convenient options to help shoppers make healthier choices via new “Diné Healthy” shelf tags and aisle signage that easily identify better-for-you foods—many of which are merchandised front and center. Other healthy product highlights include a new energy bar section, an organic snack area and a bigger variety of teas and healthy beverages.
Shoppers have an extra-good reason to visit the store on weekends, when they can find grilled mutton and hamburgers in the expanded deli department, which also houses new display cases for rotisserie chickens, turkey, meatloaf, cooked mutton and pork. It features new steam tables loaded with fresh home-cooked meal options, open deli cases, more ovens and an increased selection of healthy food offerings. Additionally, the renovated meat department offers a greatly expanded selection of beef, pork, poultry and local specialties.
The store’s renovated frozen foods department features new door cases, a variety of frozen meat options and an expanded array of convenient, wholesome choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Bashas’ execs and Navajo Nation leaders (back row, from left) Judy Hoover-Lee, Karen Giroux, Baje Whitethorne (store mural artist), Edward Basha, Ralph Woodward, Jonathan Nez, Russell Begaye, Johnny Basha, Tammy Fontaine and Joe Wagner celebrate with store associates on grand opening day.