Don’t blame Gloria Navarro if she notices your smile the next time you walk into her new store Tortilleria La Regia in downtown Mission. Navarro came to the United States from Mexico as a licensed dentist. However, she’s always been an entrepreneur at heart. The mother of three boys decided in 2016 to jump into the business world with both feet and start a business of her own. They chose to focus on tortillas, and Tortilleria La Regia was born. While her husband Leonel has stuck to his job as an engineer, Gloria has built her small business from the ground up doing everything to start it, sustain it and grow it.
In 2017, Navarro entered the Mission EDC’s Ruby Red Ventures program and wrote a business plan. She also decided to compete for funding by pitching her idea, and she won! The Mission EDC fulfilled her request of $25,000 to buy much-needed equipment to produce tortillas more efficiently and a delivery vehicle to distribute customer orders faster. Tortilleria La Regia, 1612 N. Conway Ave., makes flour tortillas for restaurants, walkup customers, small stores and four HEBs. Navarro was named an HEB Primo Pick finalist last year. With La Regia’s grand opening in May, Navarro capped a whirlwind year of positive activity. Not bad for a dentist turned tortilla dealer. Here’s some of what she wants to share with other potential entrepreneurs.
Q: What advice would have for young entrepreneurs who want to start a business?
A: The advice I would give to others is always set your goals. Love what you do. By doing what you love, you will be able to achieve whatever is put in front of you, and you will be successful.
Q: What role has technology played in your business?
A: Technology will always help us have faster production and overall easier process. But for us, technology is our mobile phones. I can take orders, look at my bank account, make notes, use an app to put down my miles traveled and to send and receive emails and texts. With a good phone, you almost don’t need a computer. That’s what a lot of people are doing nowadays.
Q: Who have you looked to for inspiration and why?
A: I have looked to other friends and family that own their businesses because they have been successful in their businesses. That’s a sign, to me, that they are doing things right. And my
family, my husband, they inspire and push me every day to do the best that I can.
Q: What has been your toughest day-to-day challenge as a small business owner?
A: Competition. That is a big challenge especially the big businesses. It’s something you have to think about every day. We make and sell tortillas. Many believe that they’re the best. But
plenty other people also sell tortillas and have been doing it for a long time. We’re new. We have to work really hard to make good relationships to get into stores and restaurants.
Q: What’s next for you and your business?
A: We’d like to grow some more. We like to add more HEBs, and more stores locally. We would also like start making and selling corn tortillas. That’s a very big market especially here in the Valley. More people eat corn, and we think we can compete.