American Entrepreneur | Glenice Martinez

DenverChano's Tamales

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Glenice Martinez, American Entrepreneur behind Chanos Tamales, in the Morrison Road Complex commissary kitchen in Denver, Colorado.

Glenice Martinez, the woman behind Chano's Tamales, invented a delicious creation - Tamale Poppers. Glenice greeted us at the entrance to the kitchen; she brought us right to the plates of tamales she had prepared, and watched in glee as we sampled her product (without tasting any of them herself).  Tamale poppers are small and round, kind of like a Mexican donut hole.  Everyone loves traditional tamales, but not everyone loves the mess.  Glenice makes her bite size products in seven flavors. We sampled pork with red chili, similar to a regular tamale, and green chili. Glenice has created a versatile product, too. She explained that the poppers have, "a little bit of a crunch on the outside. You can dip them in salsa, nacho cheese or a bowl of chili.  They can also be added to taco salads.”

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Tamale Poppers, bite sized tamales, created by Glenice Martinez of Chano's Tamales.

Not only are tamale poppers easy to eat, they are delicious. You don’t have to take our word for it: Chano's Tamales finished third last year in the Colorado Tamale Cook-off. Before we left, Glenice prepared and packaged dozens of poppers in different flavors, making sure we had enough to bring to our friends (which we did, and they loved).

Like all great tamales, Glenice's are a family tradition.

Forty years ago, when she married into the Martinez family, Glenice was taught by her new father-in-law, Chano, the art of making tamales. Today, Glenice has more than her father-in-law’s name and master recipe.  Her family is committed to the success of her business.  A family friend translated the menu into Spanish and her daughter’s husband is a Spanish-speaking sales representative to Denver area Mexican restaurants.  Glenice’s daughter designed the logo, menus and business cards. Another of Glenice's four daughters works as a distributor for a line of food products, breakfast burritos.

Glenice welcomes help in the business areas where she is doesn’t have expertise. She is a part of the local Denver entrepreneur community.  Most integral to the launch of Chano's Tamales, was the help of Denny and Elaine McFerrin at the Denver commissary kitchen, the Morrison Road Complex. (The Morrison Road Complex is a state licensed community kitchen that helps launch up to 60 food related businesses every 4-6 months.)  In addition, Glenice is taking classes from a business coach.  She hopes to begin by getting her tamale poppers in a few of local restaurants and then approach the bank for a loan. She is not looking for a lot, just enough for a cart that might cost $5000. Her plan is to get that first cart so she can get her product out to the stadium to attract the attention of restaurants, bars and catering companies. She has plans for her tamale poppers to be in every bar and restaurant in America, but she has to start somewhere.

If you are considering investing in her you are probably asking yourself if she has the commitment to make this work.  Despite the challenge presented by the economy, she has this to say about her business: "I believe in myself and I know I can do the job and that I’m going to make it. I’m going to make it even if it takes me a couple more years, I will never give up.”

Glenice admits she and Chano's Tamales are struggling and she is open about needing help.  She shared with us that her greatest concern is not being able to make it all work because she has to support the family. Her husband works part-time and Glenice is doesn’t think that job will last much longer.

But like all great entrepreneurs, she is not afraid and is willing to do whatever it takes, just like you were.  “I’m not afraid to go out and get another job, or two part-time jobs.  For someone my age, I still have a lot of energy and I have a lot to offer."

Glenice hopes to secure $5000.  If 20 people read this article and give her $250 as an investment, we can make this happen.

We believe that Glenice is someone who deserves a shot. One thing we, as a community of entrepreneurs, have in common is the need to nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs. Here’s Glenice, with a great product and passion.  Let’s help her make it happen.

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