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Texas Wants California to Pass the Sriracha

The hot sauce business is booming, but the CEO of Huy Fong Foods is resisting offers to lure the company away from its California home.
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Texas is trying to lure Huy Fong Foods, the Irwindale, California company that makes Sriracha hot sauce, but CEO David Tran isn't budging. 

Jason Villalba, a state representative in Texas, plans to tour Huy Fong Foods' production plant on May 12 and to try to entice the company to move, according to Forbes. The lawmaker wrote Tran a letter saying he's "deeply troubled that one of the fastest growing and universally beloved condiments in the world--made right here in the U.S.A.--could face such blatant obstructionism by a local city government," Forbes reports. 

Despite Villalba's letter, the city of Irwindale doesn't seem all that fazed by the plant. The city council was expected to vote on whether to force to Huy Fong Foods to cease releasing fumes in the area resulting from the production of Sriracha, but tabled the vote until its next meeting May 7. Local residents have complained that the fumes cause asthma and nosebleeds.

For his part, Tran told Forbes he hasn't had any issues with the plant where he's operated for the past 34 years. "We could grow in the state of Texas if need be," he said. "But after seeing the supporters yesterday, I don't feel alone, so I need to try to stay here instead of relocating. There is, however, the possibility of expansion to other locations due to growing sales." 

Indeed, business is booming. According to the The Los Angeles Times, the company saw $83 million in revenue last year, despite having kept wholesale prices constant for more than two decades. The sauce retails for roughly $4 per 28-ounce bottle, a pretty low price for such a hot commodity. 

Like many entrepreneurs in Texas, Tran competes, and wins, on both price and quality. Although Huy Fong Foods' sauce has spawned countless competitors--the product is named for a city in Thailand, so the company can't trademark its name--the bargain bin prices have helped the business thrive even without any advertising in the U.S. or a social media presence. 

 

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Last updated: Apr 25, 2014

JILL KRASNY | Staff Writer

Jill Krasny is a staff writer for Inc. magazine, where she covers the intersection of entertainment and startups. Prior to Inc., she was a writer for MTV and Esquire and an editor at TheStreet. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in communication. She lives in New York City.




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