ODESSA, Texas — Rain makes corn and corn makes, well, quite a few different things. Tortillas being at the top of that list-and in Odessa you can find a tortilla factory unlike any other.
One of the first Hispanic families to ever live in the city started the business in 1945, and it has boomed ever since.
The factory makes around 36,000 corn tortillas, 26,000 taco shells and 7,800 tamales every single hour.
For Manuel Gonzales III, Manuel's Tortilla and Tamale Factory president, he was born into the tortilla business 75 years ago.
"It started in 1946, my mom and dad started a little factory and they started making tortillas and tamales," Manuel said. "In those days people didn’t know what Mexican food was cause they were used to barbecue out here and chicken fried steak.”
Since then Mexican food has become a staple in Odessa, and pretty much everywhere else around the world.
Another staple? The millions of tortillas, tamales and tacos the Gonzales family makes at the factory everyday.
“It just kind of took off, it wasn’t anything like the oil boom that we’re having right now," Manuel said. "It just kind of grew slowly and got a lot of good customers.”
Some of those customers are names you may recognize-Rosa's, Taco Villa, and Ratliff stadium.
“I'm the third generation and not too much has changed in the way that we make tortillas," Manuel said. "Except we make them faster.”
In the 1970s Manuel took over the tortilla factory from his parents. In 2008, Manuel’s son Bobby left corporate America to join the family business.
“If you’re in it for the money then you’re in it for the wrong reasons," said Bobby Gonzalez, Manuel's Tortilla and Tamale Factory vice president. "It’s a labor of love, that’s why dad and I get so emotional about it."
Bobby goes on to say the business is a blessing. His dad Manuel could not agree more.
“Yeah it’s a daily grind, 12 hours a day," Manuel said. "But I enjoy what I do.”
That's why as long as people keep enjoying their food, Manuel and Bobby will keep making it.
“People keep asking me when I’m going to retire, and I say when you see the paramedics out there,” Manuel chuckled.
Because there is only one thing that comes before tortillas for these two.
““Family comes first, you know family," Bobby said.
For more information on Manuel’s Tortilla and Tamale factory click here.