Photos & Story By Herman Delgado
Jose and Olga Xicali started from humble beginnings and worked hard all their lives in order to make what Xicali Imports is today.
In Oxnard, Calif., Jose worked as a carpenter doing work on mobile homes and Olga labored in the factories creating women’s undergarments. On the weekends, they would go shop at garage sales, refurbish the items they bought and resell at the swap meet on Sundays.
This was just a side job for the family. In 1979, along with their two sons, Mike and Raul, the family decided to relocate to El Paso. Upon their arrival, Jose found employment at Oshman’s Sporting Goods, located at Bassett Center, and Olga took a job at the Atari’s El Paso plant. Even though Jose was employed, he continued with his side job of buying items at local garage sales and reselling them at a swap meet, located at the corner of Paisano Drive and Oregon Street and the one on Dyer Street and Fred Wilson Boulevard. Jose had big plans for the future of his family, and it was in mid 1980s that the foundation and groundwork was set in motion for the present Xicali Imports.
The family’s success began to change when Jose purchased his first building in 1985 and ventured into the real estate market.
Today, the family has two businesses. Xicali Imports, located at 7824 North Loop Dr., is run by Mike Xicali. The Xicali Store, found at 223. S. Oregon St., is operated by his brother, Raul Xicali. It’s the same company but different merchandise.
Walk into Xicali Imports and you will ask yourself, “Do I have enough time to check out all the neat merchandise in this store?” Everywhere you look, there are shelves and rows lined with beautiful and colorful items that you had no idea were all under one roof. The store’s owner, Mike Xicali, allowed me to tour his store and gave me a brief overlook of how things run at Xicali Imports. I asked Mike his title. He smiled and said, “I’m the owner, sales person, customer service, stocker let’s just say, I’m everything!” Asides from being “Mr. Everything,” his business runs on the same principle, they just don’t sell a little bit of everything, they sell a whole lot of everything.
In 1992, Mike had an important decision to make: continue his education or take the reins and operate Xicali Imports on North Loop Drive.
“It’s crazy, when we first opened this store in 1992, my Dad gave me an option,” Mike continued. “After I graduated, he asked me if I wanted to go to college anywhere or start my own business. I decided on Plan B, because I knew I was going to waste time and waste money attending school. I’m thinking to myself, I’m good at it why not?”
The amount and variety of NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS, and other professional sports affiliation merchandise on the shelves and on display, are the first things that catch your attention when you walk through the front doors.
“What I like about the sports stuff and what people like about the sports stuff is that you can’t go wrong. You have a graduation, birthday, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, all those holidays and we’re all sport’s fans.” Mike continued. “You can’t go wrong, as long as you give them something with their logo, people are happy. We have a little bit of everything, from $1.99 to $579.00.” Mike said.
From the moment they opened their stores, the Xicali Family has never looked back. Jose and Olga are retired now, but their sons; continue the parent’s dream. You can see the gleam in Mike’s face that he doesn’t forget where he came from or the hard work that his family put into making this business the success that it is today. The future looks bright for the Xicali clan.