ABOUT | HERITAGE
An entrepreneurial journey: 1985 to Present
Our company was founded in 2005 and built on the heritage and values of its founder, Cathy Cruz Gooch, a third-generation Mexican American whose grandparents immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s. Partnering with her husband, Harold, and her parents, Cathy Cruz Gooch drew from a rich culinary background to create tortillas, burritos and tortilla chips for Minnesota retail stores and restaurants. Follow the story in pictures:
Cathy’s father, Ted Cruz (left), holds the first package of tortillas, then made by a third-party manufacturer for the new company, Cruz Mexican Foods.
As true entrepreneurs, Cathy Cruz Gooch and her family manage the business from their St. Paul home, selling tortillas case-by-case to local grocers. Through ongoing efforts, the Cruz brand expands to eventually reach 23 states and include burritos and tortilla chips.
Cruz tortillas become the Midwest retail leader, and Cathy Cruz Gooch is contacted by a major quick-service restaurant chain to supply tortillas for a new breakfast burrito menu launch. It’s a turning point that she and her husband Harold refer to as the “phone call of their lifetime.”
Mid to Late 1990s
Cathy’s parents retire and the Cruz brand is sold. Cathy and Harold form Catalina Specialty Foods as a certified minority-owned business. The company continues to grow as a foodservice tortilla business while maintaining their quick-service supplier partnership.
Catalina Specialty Foods officially becomes an international tortilla supplier after gaining Canadian business via their quick-service customer.
2005: Direct Manufacturing
Catalina Specialty Foods forms a strategic alliance with Cargill Kitchen Solutions to build a new tortilla manufacturing facility in Eagan, MN: Catallia Mexican Foods. This creates an opportunity to meet customers’ product specifications and gives customers access to Cargill’s world-class risk management, culinary and product development resources. Within months, production begins and Cathy and Harold’s dream of direct manufacturing becomes a reality.
The Gooch’s adult children (pictured left to right: Michael, Annette, Dan) join the family business. Catallia earns the “Cargill Supplier Diversity” award, and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal “Minority Business of the Year” award.
2007 to 2009
Catallia continues to expand foodservice production capabilities to meet growing demand, and introduces its own foodservice brand, Catallia Premium Tortillas.
Cathy Cruz Gooch receives the 2007 Midwest Economic Development Association (MEDA) “Minority Entrepreneur of the Year” award and 2009 Minnesota Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) “Supplier of the Year” award.
The company expands into the retail segment, launching its own shelf-stable brand, Frescados™ Premium Tortillas and supplying private label brands for national retailers.
Catallia introduces Catallia Cares, a corporate social responsibility program focused on community service, government and business compliance, and environmental conservation. Catallia regularly supports local charities and serves on charitable board of directors.
Catallia achieves Safe Quality Food (SQF) Level 3 certification, the highest level attainable under the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) umbrella.
The Gooch family is recognized by Twin Cities Business magazine with the “Minnesota Family Business” award, and Catallia earns the “Supplier of the Year” award in recognition of their supplier partnership for private label tortilla brands.
Cathy Cruz Gooch (middle) is inducted into the MEDA Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame, and receives the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) “Lifetime Achievement” award, all while continuing to serve with various local charitable organizations.
Catallia opens a second facility for corn tortilla production and introduces a variety of table tortillas and pre-cut tortilla chips.
2016 to 2017
Catallia re-enters the retail refrigerated tortilla category with Catallia™ Auténtica, a brand of flour and corn tortillas that provide old-world flavor reflecting Mexico’s northern region.
The company continues to reinvest in new technology and plant operations that position Catallia as an industry-leading tortilla manufacturer in the United States.
A vision for the future
We are committed to producing the highest-quality tortillas in an environment that contributes to the success of our associates, customers and the community. We strive to be the business partner of choice for all of our audiences:
To offer exceptional service to our customers
To demonstrate ease of doing business to our vendors
To be a preferred place to work for our associates
To be an outstanding corporate citizen in our community
Core values at the heart of our business
Sharing our cultural traditions, Hispanic food expertise and 30 years of tortilla manufacturing experience, we work hand-in-hand with customers to deliver authentic products and innovative solutions that meet today’s market needs. We honor that promise with our commitments to:
Industry-leading quality, innovation and team empowerment
High ethics and integrity in all partnerships
Proven food safety and personal safety standards