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Ruiz Food Products was founded by Louis Ruiz and his son, Fred, in 1964. Using their Grandma Rosie’s recipes the father and son team embarked on a dream to sell frozen Mexican food.
Working out of a small warehouse in Tulare, California the early years for Ruiz Food was very much a shoestring affair. Louis took the truck he had used to deliver groceries and refrigerated it by adding an insulated plywood chest. After spending the morning with his son preparing the products, Louis made sales calls and deliveries in the afternoons. In order to accommodate these dual roles, he relied on gas station rest rooms, where he changed from business attire to clothes more suitable for making deliveries.
With changes in the California Agricultural inspection laws the company found that despite having met state standards its facilities fell far short of federal requirements. If the Ruizes wanted to stay in business they had no choice but to build a new plant. During the early developmental stages of the company, Louis Ruiz turned to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for an SBA loan. SBA financing for a new facility provided the firm with the ability to respond to future growth and expansion.
In 1983, with 205 employees, Louis and Fred Ruiz received the United States Small Business Persons of the Year Award, which was presented to them by President Ronald Reagan in a Rose Garden ceremony at the White House.
By the late 1980s, Ruiz Food employed more than 500 people and built a new 220,000 square foot plant and corporate offices in Dinuba, California. In that same year, Louis and Fred Ruiz received the National Entrepreneurial Success Award from SBA, and the company was inducted into SBA's Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C.
The company has grown to more than 2500 employees and has facilities in Dinuba and Tulare, California as well as Denison, Texas. The company is a major employer in Tulare County and is involved in many community organizations.
Today, two of Fred's children, Kim and Bryce, carry on the traditions that have made Ruiz Foods America's leading frozen Mexican food manufacturer - Kim Ruiz Beck as Chairman of the company and Bryce Ruiz as President and CEO. Members of the third generation of the Ruiz family insure the continuing legacy of Ruiz Foods.
According to the June 2010 issue of Hispanic Business Magazine, Ruiz Foods, Inc., the nation’s largest frozen Mexican food manufacturer and makers of the El Monterey brand, is ranked first among the top 10 U.S. Hispanic-owned manufacturing companies in the State of California and second among the top 500 U.S. Hispanic-owned manufacturing companies in the United States.