Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Retail & Industry
Published on September 13, 2017
'Casa Sanchez' Named City's 100th Legacy BusinessCasa Sanchez's products at Rainbow Grocery. | Photos: Casa Sanchez

The San Francisco Small Business Commission has named Casa Sanchez—best known for its chips and salsas—as the city's 100th legacy business. The new status recognizes the company as an "historic asset."

Still family-run, Casa Sanchez started at 1523 Steiner Street (and Grove) in 1923, when it began as R. Sanchez & Co., a tamale shop.

Back then, it carried enchiladas, tamales, sauces, and other goods, delivering goods in Ford Model A cars. 

Throwback, WAY back, to 1939 at the intersection of Steiner and Grove Streets in San Francisco.

A post shared by Casa Sanchez Foods (@casasanchezfoods) on

A move in the 1960s took the business to the Mission District, where it also acquired a new name: Casa Sanchez. Then located at 2778 24th Street, the family business included a taqueria, but it also turned towards commercial manufacturing of its salsas. 

Casa Sanchez was the first company in the US to sell fresh packaged salsa, and today, its products are found in supermarkets around the Bay Area.

The taqueria also became nationally known for promotions it ran in 1999 and in 2010 when it offered customers who got tattoos of its logo—a character known as "Jimmy the Cornman"—free lunch for life. 

The offer was estimated to cost the taqueria $5.8 million.

In 2012, the taqueria closed, merging with La Posta, another local restaurant that was evicted to make way for condos. La Posta became Ayulta, and despite the Sanchez family—who owned the building at 2778 Mission—offering rents reportedly below market-rate, Ayulta closed down in 2015. 

These days, Casa Sanchez is focused on commercial manufacturing, and it is now based at 250 Napoleon St. in the Bayview. With a manufacturing facility in Hayward, it is the sixth-highest grossing Latinx business in the Bay Area. 

"We are honored to be the 100th Legacy Business and grateful for the help that is allowing us to remain in San Francisco for generations to come,” said Marta Sanchez, the third-generation owner of the company. 

Businesses on the registry are eligible for support through the Legacy Business Preservation Fund. They can also apply for rent subsidies and annual grants of $500 per full-time employee to help cover labor costs. 

“It's a well-deserved honor for a business that has deep roots in San Francisco and the Mission District,” said Erick Arguello, director of the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District.