Lazaro Gago and Rosario Salinero de Gago arrived in Panama from Spain in 1951 within 8 months of each other. They met while working at La Byskaina Supermarket in Santa Ana. They fell in love at the Cathedral’s plaza while listening to beautiful open air municipal band concerts.
In September 1964 they opened Supermarket Panama, named in honor of the country they chose to live in. In 1975 they changed the name of the Supermarket to Supermercados Gago becoming the largest supermarket chain in Panama with over 1,600 employees.
During the 1989 U.S. invasion, the supermarkets were looted by crowds and the business suffered tremendously leading the family to sell the business to what is known today as Super 99 to avoid going into bankruptcy.
In 1997 they embarked in the fruit, vegetable and perishable goods supplying business, opening Importadora Exportadora Gago and later in 2011 they opened La Casa del Jamon (The House of Ham), all renowned and successful businesses.
The Gago family has always been involved in projects to benefit Panama’s inhabitants; they are famous for their catchy TV commercials emphasizing family values, education and the country’s identity and are active participants in any event that would highlight family values.
Ricardo Gago, son of Mr. Lazaro (R.I.P.) and Mrs. Rosario, just like his parents always acted and felt as if his family were descendants of generations born in the Panamanian Isthmus.
Ricardo Gago Salinero, author of the “XXI Century Collector”, is not your average day to day man. On numerous occasions the Panamanian government has awarded him for his contributions to Panamanian culture.
Throughout the years, he has donated over 1,000 pieces to the Panama Canal Museum becoming one of its most important benefactors.
The Smithsonian Institute in Washington held an exhibition called “Panamanian Passages” featuring Gago’s personal collection along with pieces he donated to the Panama Canal Museum. The exhibition was a complete success with over 400,000 visitors.
This year The Mud Island Museum at the 38th Memphis in May International Festival held a magnificent exhibition featuring all the pieces from his 2012 and 2014 books.
Gago, current President of the non-profit Committee of Friends of the Casco Antiguo Churches (CAICA), has undertaken the monumental task of rescuing, renovating and providing maintenance for 5 of the most important and historic landmark churches in Panama, all built in the 1600s: the Metropolitan Cathedral, San Jose, La Merced,
San Francisco de Asis and Oratorio San Felipe Neri.
The committee is actively raising funds to keep the renovation project alive by hosting concerts, selling books and
religious items and seeking benefactors.
Recently we participated in a private tour lead by none other than the walking history encyclopedia, Ricardo Gago
Salinero. Gago passionately walked us through the 5 churches explaining every single aspect of their history, architecture, renovations, challenges, needs, budgets and all the work that goes into this enormous task.
We were honored and enlightened by the experience but most of all we would like to express our gratitude and admiration to Mr. Gago and his team for rescuing and preserving the Panamanian culture for generations to come.
Like Mr. Gago says “God will provide.”
For more information about the project and donations contact:
Bank account information: (Donations)
Catedral Metropolitana Cta. No. 0343010891005
Parroquia San Jose Cta. No. 0343010890987
Oratorio San Felipe de Neri Cta. No. 0343010883758
San Francisco de Asis Cta. No. 0343010891437
Iglesia La Merced Cta. No. 0343010890990