Arango founded his Aurrerá discount stores in 1958 after a trip to New York where he witnessed people standing in long lines to obtain discounts at stores; he decided to open one that sold at discount, emphasizing cost over other niceties. The stores flourished and eventually his family's company, Grupo CIFRA, encompassed the largest supermarket chain in Mexico (including Aurrerá and Superama stores) as well as restaurants (VIPs and El Portón) and fashion stores (Suburbia).
Manuel, Jerónimo's brother is the President of the Mexican Center for Philanthropy as well for more than ten different non-profit organizations. He won two Academy Awards in the 1970s for the production of a well-known documentary about pre-Hispanic life.
By 1991 Arango partnered with Sam Walton's Wal-Mart empire, a move which eventually brought the Wal-Mart Retail stores to Mexico. The Mexican chain was later renamed Walmex and became the starting point for Wal-Mart's expansion in Mexico. By 1997 the Arango family decided to sell majority shareholding of CIFRA to Wal-Mart in a transaction worth over $2 billion.