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Sonoma Valley Foods owner wins Latino Business Leadership Awards

Adrian G. Rodriguez

Vice president and owner

Sonoma Valley Foods, Inc.

310 Sutton Place, Santa Rosa 95407

707-585-2200

www.sonomavalleyfoods.com

Adrian Rodriguez, owner of Santa Rosa-based Sonoma Valley Foods, is a 2021 winner of North Bay Business Journal's Latino Business Leadership Awards.

Professional background: Restaurateur, sales, management.

Education: Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, University of Arizona, post graduate studies in International Relations, San Francisco State University

Tell us your story and that of your organization: Sonoma Valley Foods is a family-owned business started in 2006. It was created by a merger of two companies: Mexican Food Products of San Francisco and El Molino Tortilleria of Santa Rosa. Mexican Food Products was started in 1964 in San Francisco by my parents, Rosa Maria and Alfonso Rodriguez.

They serviced corn and flour tortillas and serviced the entire Bay Area. My mother was the one who first created the flavored wraps. El Molino was started by the husband and wife team of Rene and Tina Valencia. They saw a need for fresh tortilla products in the North Bay.

The two companies having done business together, decided to merge in order to expand our business opportunities within the Bay Area and abroad.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?

That we are able to provide enough work hours for our employees during the slow down due to COVID-19.

What is the achievement you are most proud of?

Expanding our sales territory beyond the Bay Area and California.

What is your biggest challenge today?

Being able to hire employees to fill our increasing needs.

What are you most proud of regarding the achievements of the area Latino business community and what are the greatest challenges faced by that community?

I am proud at seeing the ever-growing Latino associations that have sprung up with the last few years focusing on growing and starting small businesses. Funding and discrimination are still obstacles.

Words that best describe you: Honest, dependable, outgoing, frank

As a successful professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

Reaching the right person in an organization can be a challenge. One must be persistent and patient.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?

Customers are more concerned now with non-GMO products, organic products and sustainability. These are concerns and trends that we are currently addressing.

Who was your most important mentor?

My mother, Rosa Maria Rodriguez. She has a positive attitude and is very creative. She thinks outside the box. Charming and always with a smile.

Tell us about your community involvement: Member of Los Cien, sponsor of Childrens International

What advice would you give to a young person today?

Education is the key. Whether it being a trade school, community college or university. Getting an internship is also invaluable.

It’s a challenging time for all but the COVID-19 virus has been especially tough on the Latino community. Tell us your experience either personally or with the group or company you work with in dealing with the economic impact of the virus.

Dealing with uncertainty and apprehension by our employees and customers – Giving them positive reinforcement and encouragement.

What are the lessons of this difficult year – including the COVID-19 virus, the economic downturn and the fires – for you and how has it changed your outlook for the future?

We definitely had to cut back on expansion on all fronts and focus on the sectors that were not as impacted by the slow down. To diversify is key.

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Rosanna Hayden

Current reading: Re-reading Dante’s Inferno

Most want to meet: Warren Buffet

Stress relievers: Exercise, gardening, travel

Favorite hobbies: Gym, tennis, wine tasting

Adrian G. Rodriguez

Vice president and owner

Sonoma Valley Foods, Inc.

310 Sutton Place, Santa Rosa 95407

707-585-2200

www.sonomavalleyfoods.com

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