NORTH LAS VEGAS (KTNV) – We’re continuing our Nevada Built series with a stop at North Las Vegas Tortillas Inc. where business is truly a family affair. 13 Action News Anchor Todd Quinones had the opportunity to tour the factory floor.
COOKING WITH LOVE
The first thing that meets you at the factory is the wonderful smell of fresh, warm corn tortillas. The second thing you notice is the warmth and friendliness of the owner Teresa Martinez.
“There’s an expression when people cook with love in their kitchens. But I get the impression that that’s also true here,” said Todd.
“Absolutely,” said Martinez. “Absolutely. If you go out there and meet our team, they’re our family.”
In 1979 Martinez’s father, Jose, a Mexican immigrant, was struggling to get his business going.
Today Tortillas Incorporated has nearly 140 employees.
You can find their Los Arcos fries and tortillas in local grocery stores and the most popular restaurants on the Strip.
They make their products according to the wishes of the chefs.
“Every chef wants their own brand. Their own style,” explained Martinez. “Your own little niche, your own tortilla.”
“You want it small. You want red. You want green. You want it to look like a heart,” she continued. “We actually have tortillas that look like a deck of cards. So everyone has a different taste.”
To say this is a family run business would put it mildly.
“My two daughters are here. My niece is here. My goddaughter is here. My brother-in-law and my husband. I hope I haven’t missed a buddy. But they’re all here,” Martinez said.
But there is someone who is not here, her brother Gus.
A GREAT MAN
“My brother built this team. He was, he was, he was a great man,” she said.
Late last year, the beloved CEO of Tortillas Incorporated passed away from COVID.
“I just have to keep going. There are a lot of walls you bump into. A lot … Sorry,” Martinez said, her voice breaking with emotion. “I have to go on.”
To add to her heartbreak, she lost her mother a month later.
TESTAMENT OF STRENGTH
“Seeing what you are doing to me now is proof of your strength and character,” said Todd.
“You know, I sometimes feel why me? Am I getting tested? The only thing I can think of is that God has something, I’m here for something,” she said. “I have a reason. I have a purpose.”
“I don’t know what it is,” she admitted. “I get up every day and say, ‘I have to do this for my mother, I have to do this for my brother and I have to take care of Dad.'”
All of this weighs heavily on Martinez.
Despite all of this, she invited us not only to share her struggles, but also to share her family’s triumphs and the pride that reigns here in this North Las Vegas factory.
“All right, let’s go. Fresh from the factory,” said Todd, opening a bag of chips at the end of the tour and holding them up to Martinez. “Women first.”
“Oh, they’re still warm. Cheers,” he said, grating in one.
“That’s a good chip.”