We are a family owned and operated business with humble beginnings.
1987 Don Barnes and his father, Don Sr., established Barnes Foods with the goal of entering the retail and food service market in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Their initial offering, Mac’s Dumplings, had achieved some moderate success, appearing in the frozen food sections of grocery stores and making its way into certain restaurant kitchens. However, the company experienced gradual growth during its first four years.
1991 Don Sr. held a position as a bank executive during his regular work hours, while his son dedicated himself full-time to expanding the dumpling venture. Their principal customer was Quinn Wholesale, and it turned out to be a serendipitous connection, as IJ Quinn also coincidentally served on Don Sr.'s bank board of directors. In a conversation that unfolded in 1991, Mr. Quinn suggested to Don Sr. that they venture into tortilla production. He foresaw their rising popularity in the United States, particularly in the Southeast. Don Sr. shared this insight with his son, and as the saying goes, a new business was born.
1992 The Barnes family acquired a compact corn tortilla production line, which had been rescued from a fire incident in Houston, Texas. They embarked on producing Pepito Tortillas. Over the ensuing nine years, they transformed the brand into one of the most prominent names in the world of tortillas on the eastern seaboard. Notably, their clientele included major retailers like Walmart, Ingles, Food Lion, Winn Dixie, Ahold, Sysco, and numerous others.
1999 Gruma Corporation, the global leader in tortilla production and owner of Mission Foods, acquires the tortilla division of the company. Simultaneously, the dumpling business is acquired by Harvest Times Foods, a rising competitor experiencing notable growth. Both Don Barnes and his son took part in Mission Foods' operations, contributing to the establishment of an impressive 80,000 square foot manufacturing and distribution facility in Goldsboro. This expansion resulted in a threefold increase in the workforce at the plant, a facility that remains operational to this day. After this chapter, Don Sr. entered retirement, while Don Jr. embarked on a new entrepreneurial venture.
2007 After successfully selling their most recent business, Don and his wife, Nicole, recognized the untapped potential for growth within the tortilla industry. Don was well aware that a critical factor in the future success of their new venture was securing the commitment of Allen Lydick, who had previously served as their sales director in the 1990s and had played a pivotal role in their earlier achievements. Don presented his proposal to Allen during a breakfast meeting at Denny's one morning. Fortunately, Allen enthusiastically agreed to join them. Subsequently, they procured the necessary equipment and embarked on the process of refurbishing the factory. In less than half a year, ALTA Foods successfully shipped its inaugural product.
2007-2018 These years form the bedrock upon which ALTA Foods is built. In under twelve months from the initial product shipments, the onset of the Great Recession presents a formidable challenge. Securing financial credit becomes an arduous task, necessitating self-sustained growth. However, through the introduction of the Celia's brand and its resounding success among retailers, alongside the development of a comprehensive range of food service offerings tailored for restaurants, ALTA Foods not only survives but thrives during the challenging period of the worst economic downturn in United States history, enduring for a duration of three years.
2010 ALTA Foods assumes a significant role as a supplier to the United States Military and the armed forces of numerous U.S. partner nations. They specialize in the production of flour tortillas incorporated into MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) distributed worldwide.
2018 ALTA makes a strategic move from its initial factory to its current site, which was formerly a distribution center operated by Keebler and Mondelez Company. This new location provides ALTA with a larger building and more extensive land resources, setting the stage for potential future expansion.
2022Today, they have emerged as industry frontrunners, crafting the market's lowest-carb tortilla available under both the Fiesta Fit and Celia’s brands. They also offer an extensive array of flour and corn tortillas, alongside ready-to-fry chips. Their products are now available in over 2000 supermarkets and have found a place in thousands of restaurants. Notably, they stand as one of the nation's foremost producers of Private Label tortillas.