"We are American food! We're not about salsa, we're about lifestyle!" -- Park Kerr, co-founder of The El Paso Chile Company.
Back in 1980, fresh out of college and penniless, Park Kerr had an idea - "I had two ladders and a nail-studded two-by-four covered with chile ristras. I think I bought them for 3 bucks in New Mexico and sold them for $15 in El Paso on a street corner." The message was clear - people were hungry for hot stuff.
|Norma and Park make merry in the 80's.|
By 1982, Park and his partner, mother Norma, were know as The El Paso Chile Company, and their hand-crafted chile wreaths and ristras graced the covers of the Neiman Marcus and Horchow Collection catalogs. In an attempt to develop a less seasonal business, they created their first gourmet food products with playful names like Snakebite Salsa, Sweet Texas Fire, and Hellfire & Damnation.
In the early 90's, Park's brother-in-law and sister, Sean and Monica Henschel, moved to El Paso, joined the company and helped build it into a solidly successful family business. Trend-setters at that time, their product line and original packaging expanded into a line that now proudly boasts dips and salsas, condiments, an array of gifts, and snack and drink mix selections.
The El Paso Chile Company is synonymous with fun, interesting, original flavors and incredibly creative labels. "Food is fashion!" says Park, who's been called everything from "the Drew Carey of Salsa" to "the Martha Stewart of the Border." "Our customers are busy and food savvy - they want premium natural ingredients, big bold flavors and open-and-eat convenience." Kerr's frequent trips around the world, to seek out new tastes and trends, have kept product development at a brisk pace.
Remember the El Paso Chile Company rule of thumb: You can never go wrong consuming from the three food groups - Salsa, Snacks, and Margaritas!