The Founders of the La Gloria Tradition
Manuel Sanchez Behar
La Gloria Foods was founded in Los Angeles, California, in 1954 by Manuel Sanchez Behar, originally from Puebla, Mexico. When he came to the United States, he brought with him a dream and experience in the art of tortilla making. Before coming to California, he had previously owned tortilla factories in Mexico City and Tijuana. It was through his vision, experience and hard work that he was able to turn his small tortilla factory into one of the first mass-producing tortilla companies in the country. In this way, he impacted the course of the entire tortilla business, and is remembered as a leader, innovator and pioneer of the tortilla industry. In 2009, Manuel Sanchez Behar was honored by the Tortilla Industry Association as a pioneer of the tortilla industry.
Antonia Behar is the wife of Manuel Sanchez Behar, and has been instrumental to the company’s success since its founding in 1954. When La Gloria was first founded by Mr. Behar, it had only one other employee: Antonia Behar. In the early days of La Gloria, Mr. and Mrs. Behar single-handedly ran every aspect of their small company, which included manufacturing every single tortilla themselves. While Mr. Behar went out seeking new customers, Mrs. Behar ran the tortilla factory and its retail store all by herself.
Since Mr. Behar’s passing in 1990, Mrs. Behar has continued to play a prominent role in running the business. Now in her 90s, Mrs. Behar continues to work at La Gloria, overseeing the company to which she and Mr. Behar devoted their entire lives. In 1998, Mrs. Behar was honored by Univision KMEX–TV Channel 34 as Woman of the Year, celebrating her achievements as a female entrepreneur and her many contributions to the Latino community.
The Family Tradition Continues
La Gloria Foods Corp. continues to be family-owned and run. Maria Vera, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Behar, is the company’s president. Mrs. Vera has been part of La Gloria virtually her entire life. Her involvement in the company began when she was about five years old, when she began to be relied upon as a translator for her Spanish-speaking parents for a variety of business matters. In this way, Mrs. Vera began learning the various aspects of the company’s operation, and with time became an indispensable part of La Gloria. Consequently, Mrs. Vera became the natural successor to run La Gloria. Because of Mrs. Vera’s experience, passion, and business sense, La Gloria has grown dramatically over the past decades.
The third generation of Behars is now helping to manage and operate La Gloria. The company has grown significantly since its founding, now producing about 1 million tortillas every day. For the Behar family, La Gloria has always been and will continue to be part of the family. The third generation is dedicated to ensuring La Gloria’s continued success, and to producing the best-quality products with the same dedication and passion held by our grandparents, Manuel and Antonia Behar.