WOODS CROSS—It’s not often that a member of the president’s cabinet makes a stop in Davis County. But last Wednesday, Linda McMahon met with the owners and took a tour of Manuel’s Fine Foods in Woods Cross.
“This came about really fast,” said one of the owners Paul Torres. “We met with her this morning in a round table discussion. It’s really an honor to have her come here.”
McMahon is the administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration and part of Pres. Donald Trump’s cabinet. She is currently visiting small businesses across the nation with the SBA Ignite Tour to educate, listen and highlight the role of small businesses in economic growth.
Manuel’s is a recent recipient of a SBA 504 loan. “We needed a loan for an addition to our building,” said Torres. “We produce 3,000 lbs. of product per hour. It’s a 24-hour operation Monday through Friday and we send it out throughout the west with some in the Denver and Arizona market.”
The business was started in 1938 by my grandfather, Torres said. “In about 1980 my mom and dad took over and ran it then in 1995 the three of us (brothers) took over.”
Torres said Manuel’s was in a house on 700 S. 350 West in Salt Lake City then moved to 2100 South before coming to Woods Cross in 2007. The facility manufactures tortillas and tortilla chips that are sold nationally under the private labels Don Julio and Clover Club.
“We do everything here that a large company does,” said Torres. “We check the product hourly for salt, oil and water content. If it’s out of whack, we don’t send it out. We have 75 employees but with unemployment at 3 percent – it’s hard to find employees.”
Utah is one of the best states in the U.S. for small businesses, McMahon said. “The Ignite tour is for me to first listen and then educate the community about what the SBA does,” she said. “I want to take back what I learn to Washington and advocate for all small businesses. I’m anxious to tour this business that has a SBA loan.”
McMahon said Pres. Trump is very committed to small businesses. “When I first came into the SBA it was a well kept secret (what we do),” she said. “You think loans and that is a great part, but we offer mentoring, counseling, veteran outreach. We support experienced businesses or businesses that are just starting out. We want to spread the word about all we do.”
As an entrepreneur and business executive herself, McMahon believes she is well suited for her current appointment. “I think that is why Pres. Trump chose me is because I’ve started a business from the ground up myself,” she said. “I know what it’s like to go through bankruptcy and come back from that.”
McMahon is well known as a co-founder and former CEO of WWE. In 2009, she stepped down and ran for the U.S. Senate. She was the Republican nominee to represent Connecticut in 2010 and 2012.
The SBA’s goal is to promote efficiency and effectiveness, she said. “We measure outcomes – not output. Our Utah district office is incredibly effective. They have an enthusiasm and a passion for what they’re doing. They’re making contacts, visiting and getting the word out.”
McMahon said the SBA also has good business partners in Utah. “We’re well represented here. Successful partners and an effective office are a good combination. It makes for great growth in jobs and the economy in Utah.”