A team with a history so rich in guacamole that it dates back to working with the very man who took it to retail—Don Pancho—is finding success with its ¡Yo Quiero! Brands. The North Texas-based company just upped its game from working out of an old house to a new 45,000 square-foot distribution center and headquarters in Rhome, about 25 miles north of Fort Worth, and a new manufacturing facility in Guanajuato, Mexico.
Best known for its line of guacamole, salsa, and queso, the new company is already on track to record $50 million in its first full year of operations—with a projected $75 million next year. And it just inked a five-year brand partnership with the Dallas Cowboys.
Currently, ¡Yo Quiero! products are in 300 stores locally, such as Albertsons and Tom Thumb, and plan to be in Walmart by October.
D CEO recently caught up with the company’s president Jeff Morris—the former vice president of operations at Wholly Guacamole—to find out more about the brand and its future plans.
D CEO: ¡Yo Quiero! Brands has seen great success in its first few years, why do you think that is?
MORRIS: We’ve been extremely fortunate based on our experience. And that goes back to understanding our market and understanding our customers. We have shortened the learning curve. We know the business. We know how to make things work. We have relationships with customers. Anyone else coming into this business would take a whole lot longer to figure it out.
D CEO: Your company is made up of the former owners of Wholly Guacamole, why did you all want to get back into the avocado game?
MORRIS: A majority of us left in 2014 … after the company was sold in 2011 … and we got bored and said, ‘we need to start this again.’ Wholly is the no. 1 brand in the U.S. [for the category], but for us, it is back to grassroots. It is all about what made us successful and what do we miss, and that was to produce a high-quality product and be innovative among avocados. This is all more important than building a much bigger market.
D CEO: How do you plan to be innovative in the avocado industry?
MORRIS: It is not something we’ve shared. Right now we are doing a lot of research and development. [We are thinking about] how do we reinvigorate in the dairy and fresh produce category. We are looking at trends in the plant-based market, such as the staples in your fridge that are now turning plant-based. We are fortunate to have a fruit that is so versatile.
D CEO: How did you land a deal with the Dallas Cowboys?
MORRIS: An owner is friends with Jerry and Stephen [Jones] and has been well-connected for many years. For us, we recognized the Cowboys as a very powerful brand. It gives us a lot of great opportunities that not everyone can afford. It gets our brand out there.