Local Business Casa Sanchez and Professor Monika Hudson Testify in Front of the Small Business Commission

by Ilana Bercovitz


Professor Monika Hudson Addresses the San Francisco Small Business Commission
Professor Monika Hudson Addresses the San Francisco Small Business Commission

“My grandfather came from Mexico in 1923 with a 20-lb iron tortilla press, determined to open a tortilla factory. Casa Sanchez opened up on Steiner street where my grandfather sold tortillas wrapped in paper and string. In 1960, we moved to Fillmore and Pine, and around the mid-1970s, we moved to 24th street in the Mission, where after school I’d ring up customers standing on milk cartons,” said Marta Sanchez, of Casa Sanchez, the salsa and tortilla chip company based in San Francisco.

Watch the proceedings

Marta Sanchez was telling the story of her 5-generation family business to the Small Business Commission. According to a report prepared for the Board of Supervisors, nearly 13,000 businesses will close up shop or move this year and more than 18,000 will open, up from about 1,300 closures and 4,000 openings or moves in 1992. In an effort to reverse this trend and support the local businesses that so greatly contribute to the cultural diversity that defines San Francisco, Supervisor David Campos is working with San Francisco Heritage on legislation that would protect legacy businesses from SF’s real estate boom.

Sanchez shared the impact legacy businesses in San Francisco have far beyond the city’s borders. “We were the first to make fresh salsa to be sold in supermarkets across the country. I can safely say that San Francisco is responsible for salsa replacing ketchup as the number one condiment. That’s how important we are as a city.” Though it has seen great success, Casa Sanchez is struggling amidst rising rental costs. “We need a new space and we keep getting outbid. We are desperate for a place to move.”

Monika Hudson, USF Professor, joined Marta Sanchez in front of the Small Business Commission. As director of the Gellert Family Business Resource Center, Hudson is no stranger to the challenges faced by small family-owned businesses in San Francisco. The mission of the Gellert Center is to provide family-owned businesses with access to networking, to create an open exchange of strategic and practical family business information and advance the field of family business research, education, and scholarship. The Center holds an annual award ceremony to recognize extraordinary business achievement and community service. Casa Sanchez was the recipient of the Gellert Family Business Award in 2011.