The smell of corn chips permeated the Garcia household in the formative days of the family corn-chip business. “I would go to school and the kids would tell me, ‘Man, you smell good,” recalls Miguel Garcia, who woke up early to fry corn chips in the family kitchen to help make enough for his father, Julio, to sell at a convenience store and for his mother, Lilia, to deliver for catering jobs. Miguel, now the president of Julio’s Corn Tortilla Chips, was literally raised in the tortilla chip business.
The Garcias didn’t choose the corn chip business as much as it chose them. With 10 children to feed, Julio and Lilia relied on their kitchen skills to make chips and salsa to supplement their income, starting in the 1980s. Customers came knocking on the door of the Garcias’ home in residential Del Rio; sales were transacted at the kitchen counter. By 2002, the chips had grown so popular that Miguel opened a factory with a Mexican restaurant in front. Nowadays, the restaurant is a bustling hub of Del Rio, and you can find Julio’s chips and salsa at big grocery stores across Texas.