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Father-son team win $25,000 MEDC grant, build tortilla chip factory

20130315 Ruby Red Ventures Rafael Pacheco AF  5081 featureMISSION—Rafael Pacheco Jr. and Rafael Pacheco Sr. are nurturing a father-son tortilla chip business in Mission. The business has grown slowly each year since its creation in 2006, and has recently expanded distribution to multiple stores, including H-E-B stores, throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

The family business, El Yaqui Products Corp. creates tortilla totopos and tostadas. Rafael Pacheco Sr. has always been an entrepreneur his son says. He had his own meat market but suffered some health issues that forced him to retire.

“He went through a triple bypass surgery, so he retired from that (meat market) and started this company,” Rafael Pacheco Jr. said. “This past year he suffered a stroke at a meeting…. That is why this company has a lot of sentimental value because I’m working with him.”

The duo work together to make the tortilla chips from scratch, a first for a business of its kind in the Rio Grande Valley. The father and son team are the company’s only two employees who make and package their product. When asked about the corporation’s workforce, Rafael Pacheco Jr. said – you are looking at it.

“We have small machines, and we make everything from scratch,” he said. “All big companies have a small start. What Ruby Red Ventures is doing is awesome. They are giving an opportunity to people, to give them a chance to grow. It is extremely important.”

The company was awarded a $25,000 grant through Ruby Red Ventures, a new program administered by Mission EDC to foster entrepreneurship in Mission. Rafael Pacheco Jr. said this would help fuel their business plans of expanding their production team and their product to cities in north Texas.

“We hope to hire at least two more people…to expand our amount of products,” Pacheco Jr. said. “We have several brokers in Houston and San Antonio that are trying to introduce our product. La Esquesita is one or our main distributors…just the fact that we are in the H-E-Bs, people are getting to know us more.”

The company originated in Alamo, and has found its way to the Mission area. Due to the broken economy, the business has had slow growth; Rafael Pacheco Sr. said he is ok with the rate of their advancement.

“Our business is growing a step at a time, when a business takes off too fast, it falls,” the father said in Spanish. “When the growth is too fast, you can’t handle the work. The growth we are at is good.”

Rafael Pacheco Sr. is a strong man; his son said he attributes the business’s success to his father’s determination and faith.

“My dad is a man of great faith; we are a Christian family….I admire my dad a lot,” Rafael Pacheco Jr. said. “He is the backbone of the company. I’m doing the easy part. To come up with a new product, it is not easy. You have to be on it and he is not a quitter.”

The father and son team said so far they have enjoyed the company’s move to Mission. They feel welcomed by the community, and can’t wait to grow in the area. Their products can be found at H-E-B, Foy’s Supermarket, Walgreens and local markets from Roma to Brownsville under the El Yaqui label.

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