Business owner and NW-ISBDC client, Fernando Gutierrez, had the opportunity to sit down with Jim Koch, founder of Samuel Adams Beer and the Boston Beer Company.
“I had a coaching meeting and met with Jim and spoke with him and members of his team about sales, distribution and social media,” Gutierrez said.
The meeting was part of Gutierrez and his Highland-based business, Torti Products, being selected to the company’s Brewing the American Dream program. It is designed to help small food and beverage business owners reach their goals.
The program works with Accion, the nation’s largest non-profit micro-lender. The Accion Chicago team nominated Gutierrez for the program.
Torti Products offers flour tortillas that are raw and ready to be cooked.
“The end product is a fresh, homemade flour tortilla,” he said. “All my life, I had a passion for cooking. When I was a young man, I would watch my aunt make flour tortillas and it always stayed in my mind. I also got information from my other aunts and mother.”
The company launched after Gutierrez and his wife found a similar product during travels to Texas. The couple would stock up on tortillas and bring them back home to Northwest Indiana. Today, the tortillas are available in 30 stores.
“My sales have increased since last year,” Gutierrez said. “I am slowly growing and not at a standstill.”
In the future, Gutierrez hopes to add employees to help with delivery as he also continues to build his product around family traditions.
“I am putting a 2-inch tortilla in every pack now. When I was growing up, my mom, grandma or aunt would make little ones for the kids. Everybody would fight for them … it was a big thing,” he said.
Beyond the coaching aspect of the program, Torti Products is now featured on the new Sam Adam’s six-pack of Pumpkin Ale. The bottom of the boxes include a description of the program as well as the following : “Through our Brewing the American Dream program, Jim and the Samuel Adams team are helping talented, passionate people live their American dream: from Marko Paulinovic of Mangia Mangia Mobile in San Diego, CA to Fernando Gutierrez of Torti Products Inc. in Highland IN.”
“I am so thankful for the recognition … that is helping me a lot,” Gutierrez said.