WACO, Texas (FOX 44) — There’s 11 days left until Christmas, and one Hispanic-owned business in Waco, Texas, is continuing its tradition of serving a special item.

It’s tamales: Jessie’s Tortilla Factory is celebrating 65 years of operation with no plans of slowing down.

Tamale making is second nature for Jessie Tortilla Factory owner Alicia Rodriguez.

Her father, Jessie Contreras, started the business in 1956 when she was 6 years old and remembers working here after school as a teen.

“I remember when Dad first started selling them, they were 50 cents a dozen, and right now they’re selling for $14.75 a dozen, so price-wise, is really increasing,” said Alicia.

In 1958, the Rodriguez family bought the building, and the business grew quickly thanks to their tamales.

“We started with one roll machine, and then in the late 70s, my dad bought a two roll [machine],” said Alicia.

Alicia said it’s a Mexican tradition to prepare tamales during the holiday season.

Her son, manager Santos Rodriguez, said their tamales are so popular, some customers come just to buy the masa and make their own tamales at home.

“I like the business. I like the customer reaction. We get to see a lot of faces that don’t come in as often as our regular customers,” said Santos.

Santos says they make over 90,000 tamales throughout the year.

The end of the year is their biggest workload.


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“This time of the year, November, December, we’ll probably sell 4 to 5,000 dozens in just two months,” said Santos.

Jessie’s Tortilla Factory has taken orders in advance for 64 years

They’ve adjusted their system this year to be first-come, first-serve.

Santos said the tamales they sell are special being taught from one generation to the next.