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Small Business Digest


Hispanic Widow Grows Foods Business, Adds Products

Like many women, Lydia Gutierrez was forced to keep a business going after her husband and partner died.

As is the case in many situations like this, not only did the company survive but it thrives today, thanks in great part to her leadership and fortitude. 

Gutierrez, along with her late husband Richard, established Hacienda Mexican Foods, a manufacturer and distributor of authentic Mexican food products, in August of 1994 with only four employees.

Today, the company has grown to more than 100 employees and conducts business out of three facilities (more than 66,000 sq. ft.) in Southwest Detroit.

From fresh flour and corn tortillas to chorizo and Mexican spices and candies, Hacienda Mexican Foods has built its reputation over the years for offering customers an assortment of products of the highest quality. 

After the death of her husband in 2005, Gutierrez’s employees remained confident in her ability to assume all responsibility for the business, including sales, distribution, marketing, warehousing and purchasing.  She has not disappointed them.  

As a savvy entrepreneur, she has worked to develop business strategies to increase sales, profitability and job retention. It is this consistent business philosophy and Gutierrez’s perseverance that has driven the success of her company.
Among her recent accolades, Gutierrez was named the “2007 Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Michigan Commission of Spanish Speaking Affairs, presented with the “2007 Small Business of the Year Award” by Univision WUDT-TV Detroit, and the “2008 Small Business Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Michigan Business & Professional Association. 

Additionally, she is the current Board Chair of the Southwest Detroit Business Association (the business association within the heart of Mexicantown) and Executive Committee Board member of Crime Stoppers of Southeast Michigan.
Dedicated to her employees and the community, she has imbedded in her company the importance of education and is constantly developing her workforce by continual training. 

As a result, she has partnered with the University of Detroit Mercy to provide English-speaking classes to her employees before or after their workshift.  As a benefit, she pays for the class instructor, learning materials and compensates the employees for classes.

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