Jose-Luis Saavedra founded Tapatio Foods in 1971, creating the recipe for the famous Tapatio hot sauce and selling it internationally. Originally from Mexico City, Saavedra named the sauce after the nickname used for residents of Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico, where his children were born. Saavedra’s children and grandchildren now help him run the business.

Jose-Luis Saavedra

AGE 87

TITLE: President

COMPANY: Tapatio Foods, Vernon

How many hours a week do you work?

76 hours.

Why not retire?

Throughout my lifetime, I have found working as a passion and a source of enjoyment. I enjoy the challenges that running a business brings and I also enjoy the people I meet in business.

Does your family want you to retire?

No, on the contrary, they encourage me to continue working. They respect the hours I put into running the business. My children and I all work for this company and by doing so we can make the company stronger and better able to provide a great product.

Best part of working past 80?

The best part of working past 80 is that you can better analyze every situation in a logical way, removing the emotional component of the business.

And the worst?

Not having the same energy as when I was 72 years old.

Are you up to date on technology?

I’m somewhat tech savvy and use technology to run my business, but when I find it quite challenging my grandchildren are always teaching (me) new programs and new tricks. I know that when I need information I can easily look it up online and usually find what I need.

What is the best advice you ever got?

The best advice I ever received was from my mother who worked very hard during her life. She told me to do things to the best of my abilities and to always do it right.

What advice would you give to people who want to work well past 65?

If you still have the energy and enjoyment of what you are doing, continue doing it.

What’s the secret to staying healthy and active?

Having a good sense of humor. Even though I don’t exercise, I take care of myself by eating healthy and staying active at work. I read a lot and I am able to assimilate and retain the subjects that interest me.

Do you work as much as you used to in your 40s and 50s?

Actually, I’m working more than I did at that age, but the style of work is different. Back then, I would drive to places and deliver the product, which required a lot of manual work. But now, I find myself dedicated to office responsibilities – reviewing the documents required to run the business and solving the challenges for the growing demands of the product.

How has your routine changed?

My work routine has not changed in the last 20 years.

What do you miss the most about being young?

I miss the energy that I had in my earlier days, but I don’t miss the headaches of starting a business.

What do you see in the future?

A coffin. Just kidding. I see myself with the same work schedule, being actively involved in the business for quite some time and for the members of my family to continue growing it as it has been since the inception of the company.

– Caroline Anderson

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