It was 1940. Our grandparents had just survived the Great Depression and were ready to strike out on their own. They started selling spices and vinegar out of their house on Gould Avenue in Fort Worth, Texas. His name was George; hers was Arthurine. But she hated that name. She preferred to be called Mrs. Renfro.
“My dad was the salesman and my mother kept the books and had her own system. I'm sure it didn't match anything they do now, but she knew exactly where we were, what we owed and who owed us.” – Jack Renfro
They learned to evolve the company and products as customer needs changed. Spices turned into syrups and grew into chow chow – a flavorful relish popular in the south. When the business got too big for that little house, they bought a building on Stella Street, and we’ve been there ever since, though we’ve grown several times.
Mrs. Renfro’s becomes official
Although the Renfro Foods company had been going strong for more than 20 years, the current Mrs. Renfro’s brand wasn’t born until 1963, created to sell our chow chow at fruit and vegetable stands. The mom-and-pop branding felt a little closer to our homegrown roots and honored the amazing woman who’d helped start it all.
By the mid ’60s, the second generation Renfros (our dads) Bill and Jack were grown and part of the business, and their little sister, our Aunt Linda, was romping around the office. In 1970, the boys took over most of the operations. That same decade, Paw-Paw Renfro passed away, but Mrs. Renfro and her children carried on the family legacy.
“He likes office work. I don't. I like the production, and he doesn't. So through the years, we've gotten along fine.” – Jack Renfro
“We don't scream, we don't holler, we don't cuss. And even though we have different personalities and different ideas sometimes, we've been able to just talk them out and come to an agreement.” – Bill Renfro
The sweet (and savory) spot
By the 1970s, we got into hot sauce and picante sauce; by the ’80s, the third generation were starting careers in the business. And in the ’90s, we lost Mam-Maw Renfro.
But her name was about to become known across the world; that was the same decade we started making the Mrs. Renfro’s salsa we’re famous for today.
We found that there were enough classic mild, medium and hot salsa varieties already. So, we decided to take things a little further, rolling out options like Habanero, Black Bean, Peach. Unique, gourmet flavors – but priced the same as the classic ones. It turned out to be our sweet spot.
In 2021, Bill passed away at age 86, but his brother Jack and the third generation continue to run the company, now selling the salsa with Mam-Maw’s name in all 50 states and more than 30 countries. Through it all, we’ve remained a small family company in the same building in that Texas town known as “where the West begins.” We’ve made it because we’ve stayed true to the things Mam-Maw and Paw-Paw Renfro cared about from the beginning: True to family. True to flavor.
“It's just a different feeling when the business is yours, and you had a part in it.” – Bill Renfro
Now, the third generation runs the day to day:
Doug Renfro (Jack’s kid), President
Doug oversees new product development, information systems and more. He also works with Becky to manage sales, accounting and public relations. Doug played saxophone, piano and marching xylophone (seriously) in high school, advancing to state competition on multiple instruments. Currently, he can only play the kazoo. Full bio
Becky Renfro Borbolla (Bill’s kid), Senior Vice President
Becky manages several administrative areas and works with Doug to manage sales, accounting, public relations, trade shows and more. She loves to travel and has demonstrated Mrs. Renfro's salsas and recipes in Toronto, Canada; Paris, France; and Cologne, Germany. Full bio
James Renfro (Bill’s kid), Senior Vice President
James manages production, shipping and receiving. He has worked in various manufacturing capacities in the family business since 1980. He once broke his leg riding bulls at the world's biggest honky-tonk, Fort Worth's legendary Billy Bob's. After trying to run the labeling machine on crutches for eight weeks, he decided to retire from bull riding! Full bio