In business since 2014 and sold in stores throughout the entire Southeast region as well as nationally through Amazon, Tony’s is quickly becoming a household name.
The dream of creating a healthy and delicious salsa began in 1984, when Tony was seven years-old. He and his family were frequent visitors of Houston’s finest Mexican restaurants. The salsa at these restaurants really stuck out to Tony. A few years later, having moved to Phoenix, it dawned on him that he could make salsa himself. It was nothing short of mind-blowing for the young, aspiring chef. The image of the little bag of spices and peppers was etched into his mind. Watching his mom chop and mix the fresh vegetables into a flavorful sauce formed his concept of what salsa should be.
In 2006, Tony had a decade of restaurant work under his belt, from dishwasher to general manager; it was then that his entrepreneurial aspirations would begin to blossom. His influences consist of Soul Food, Creole and Tex-Mex. Tony began serving family and friends his culinary experiments, with the intention of opening his own restaurant.
2010 was the year that Tony’s salsa began to take shape. An after-hours visit from a hungry friend led Tony to grab what was available in the restaurant since the kitchen was closed. Fresh salsa was part of this meal and after two bites, his friend said it was the best salsa he had ever tasted. Tony’s focus would abruptly change from food service to product development. After a year-and-a-half of market research and business development, Tony began perfecting his salsa recipe, and everyone loved it. The salsa needed a name. It is derived from its creator, Tony, and the word ‘Tejas,’ which means ‘Texas’ in Spanish and ‘friend’ in Caddo, a Native American language. Thus, Tony’s Tejas Salsa was born.
By 2014, Tony was reaching out to co-packers who might produce his salsa. There was a problem though; they all wanted to add chemical preservatives. This was unacceptable and would defeat the purpose it was created for. This would cause a delay but would ultimately lead Tony to the right place. In the meantime, Tony happened upon “The Market at the Square,” a farmer’s/craft market in downtown Mobile. This appeared to be a venue where he could sell his salsa directly to people who were already looking for natural, healthy foods. After tasting a lady’s homemade salsa, he knew his salsa could do well in this venue.
The market’s directors approached Tony and had him set up to sell salsa at “The Market on the Hill” at Lavretta Park in Mobile. He made three gallons of salsa and sold out in one hour. Before we knew it, Tony’s was being sold at eight farmer’s markets in the area, with the help of numerous investors. Tony’s kitchen became inadequate to meet demand after six months, and a co-packer became necessary. The ‘Beverly Ann’s Mild Blend’ and ‘Caliente’ flavors were created during this period. Tony’s mild salsa came at the request of his mother since the original flavor was too hot. ‘Caliente’ is for the daring.
In 2015, Tanner’s Pecans and Candies of Mobile would turn out to be the co-packer Tony would use. Owner, Danny Foxx went to work with his crew and began to sate the growing demand for what was being called “The World’s Best Salsa” by nearly everyone who tried it. Tony’s salsa would find its first retail home at Bebo’s Springhill Market in February. Retail locations spread quickly from there, and soon spread across locally-owned grocers in three states; Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. Whole Foods discovered Tony’s salsa in May and began selling it in Mobile by September. By the end of 2015, Tony’s was being sold in four Whole Foods Markets from Mobile to Nashville.
2016 saw Tony’s vision expand from local to regional. This hurdle was cleared by hiring and training his own production team to make salsa. This was a huge step and it allowed Tony to maintain the quality of the salsa while keeping costs down. The remainder of the year would see sixteen more Whole Foods stores selling The World’s Best Salsa. The distribution of the salsa was being carried out by “professional cooler wrestlers,” a.k.a., the sales division.
As it turned out, after Tony fell out of a van in Chattanooga, 2017 saw the purchase of a refrigerated van. This eliminated the cooler wrestling as well as the danger of moving so much salsa. The van allowed Tony to expand into the Carolinas. The company expanded into thirty-five more Whole Foods stores and an additional six local retailers throughout Alabama and Tennessee. Despite phenomenal growth, Tony was not satisfied with his customer base. The salsa needed to be cheaper and more available to people of all incomes. He continues to find ways to make the salsa more affordable. Tony redesigned the packaging in 2017, creating a 39% retail savings. Tony’s next move is to create a co-op of organic farmers to source raw materials directly, and to transform the salsa into “The World’s Best Organic Salsa.” Once this co-op is up and running, quality will increase, and prices will drop. This is just the beginning of how Tony and the investment group are working to make the world a better place, one cup of salsa at a time.
In 2018, Tony secured a distribution deal with Whole Foods Market Southern Region This created expansion into forty-two stores as well as an additional twenty local retailers throughout Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.
The future will see further expansion as well as a product line that will offer a diverse variety of fresh salsas and dips, seasonings, sauces and snacks. We fully expect to be a nationally sold and recognized product within the next decade. Ingram Family corporation, Tony's Tejas Salsa’s parent organization will expand into Organic Farming, restaurants, and logistics. Tony's Tejas Salsa is the foundation for a business model that is focused on its effect on humanity as much as its bottom line. Chef Tony Tejas Ingram has created an opportunity for you to "Own What You Eat " with the Tony's Tejas Salsa Profit Share Group. Details on how you can make a generational investment in the future of food -- -- > Own What You Eat