Manchaca food company’s traditional recipes continue to draw new fans
Sonia Vasquez-Grizzle recalls the precise moment when she knew consumers needed a better tortilla. “It came from trying a package of store-bought tortillas for the first time. The first thing I said to myself after opening the package was, ‘Whew! Preservatives!’ I looked at the ingredients list and saw more than ten different ingredients — and more than half of them were chemicals.”
This encounter led Vasquez-Grizzle to become Founder and CEO of Margarita’s Tortilla Factory in Manchaca, which has provided shoppers with great-tasting, authentic alternatives since 1997. The company makes organic flour tortillas, corn tortillas and handmade tamales from traditional recipes with all-natural ingredients and flavorings. Margarita’s Tortilla Factory was entirely bootstrapped from the beginning, notes Vasquez-Grizzle. “I worked the business while my kids were at school. During the summer, they came with me to make deliveries. Employees who have worked at Whole Foods for as long as I’ve had the business have seen my children grow up. They have been like family to me.”
The efforts of Vasquez-Grizzle and her team have paid off for Margarita’s Tortilla Factory. 2011 sales hit $542,000, up 35 percent from the previous year, and the addition of statewide distribution is expected to drive 2013 sales to $2.5 million. National expansion will then follow. “Since day one, my first customer was Whole Foods Market,” she says. “Now we have over 50 retail outlets in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma.” She adds that the most difficult challenge in the early days was finding the right strategic support and guidance, listing RampCorp and the Small Business Development Center at Texas State University as particularly helpful resources.
Vasquez-Grizzle believes that the only way to succeed is to start: “If you have been thinking about an idea for starting a business, stop thinking about it and just do it!”