In 1923, Roberto Sanchez senior came to San Francisco in a Model A car dressed in a brim hat, black coat, suave mustache and a 20 pound iron tortilla press tucked under his arm. With his wife Isabel and 3 kids, Robert, Juliana and Lupe, he opened one of the first tortilla factories in Northern California. His job on his children’s birth certificate states “tamale maker”. The “Mexicatessen” sold tortillas by the pound wrapped in butcher paper and string.
From the time he arrived, the Sanchez family were innovative pioneers, contributors to many firsts. They opened a jazz club in San Francisco’s Fillmore District in the 1960’s. They made the first fresh salsa for retail which contributed in salsa replacing ketchup as the #1 condiment. Their logo “Jimmy the Cornman” is tattoed on over 80 bods. Through a promotion that granted free lunch in exchange for the tattoo, Forbes magazine named the deal one of the 5 best marketing ideas of the year. They have a popular computer game called Salsa Shooters.
Today Casa Sanchez is on its 5th generation, makes over 25 products and manufactures the highest selling salsa in California based on Nielson reports. The most important value of Casa Sanchez is their connection with their customers. And “Jimmy the Cornman” is the best way to bond with what they consider their extended family. Jimmy is named after the youngest son of Robert Jr. who was 5 at the time. He sits on a corn on the cob shaped rocket, commemorating when the first man landed on the moon in the 1970’s. It is said that “Jimmy the Cornman” was on that flight and his recipes fit his slogan of being “Outta this world”. Now Jimmy is a San Francisco icon and household word.