Business runs in David Romero’s blood. Following in the footsteps of his brother and father, the Sahuarita resident took to salesmanship with his love of interacting with people.
It’s talking to customers about his family’s product line Incredible Snacks at farmers markets that Romero likes best about what he does.
“I enjoy talking to people, and that’s why I’m doing this more than anything,” he said. “It’s one of those things you have it or you don't, being a salesman. My dad was in business forever, and I think I got it from him.”
Romero’s brother started Incredible Snacks in the ‘80s, and what began as a pistachio-processing business with 10 flavors has grown exponentially over the years.
The line now carries everything from chocolate pecans to posole-flavored nuts and even dried figs, now that the season has begun.
“People kept asking for flavors we didn’t have on our tables, so we started adding more and more flavors. That's why you see so much variety here, and we keep adding because people keep asking for something we don't have,” Romero said. “We make it ourselves, and it’s a lot of fun.”
The company strives to source their ingredients as locally as possible, with pecans from Sierra Vista, pine nuts from Flagstaff, figs and dates from Yuma, and more. The only time they go outside the state is if they need something that doesn’t grow here.
“People want to buy as local as possible, so we are trying to focus on local products,” he said. “We’re also trying to focus on no animal products in the products we sell; it's mostly vegan. I have a lot of vegan and vegetarian customers.”
Since the business started, a lot has changed about what matters most to people in their food: Namely, people want to know ingredients are safe and free of as many additives as possible.
“When we started back in the ‘80s, people didn't care about the contents in the products. Everything had preservatives,” he said. “But nowadays, people ask more questions. They want to know how we prepare everything. People are always changing their habits, especially right now.
“There's a cancer epidemic, so people are very conscious about that. They don't want to eat chemicals anywhere.”
Along with locally sourced ingredients, they use natural oils in their products.
While Incredible Snacks is based in Phoenix and can be found at some grocery stores and gas stations there, Romero travels to both Tucson and Sierra Vista as well for local farmers markets.
Former Sierra Vista Farmers Market manager Diane Jones said she had heard good things about Romero and Incredible Snacks.
“I knew people at the Tucson markets who had dealt with him,” she said. “I just found him to be a friendly, reliable guy, which is so important with vendors. He’s got a really nice personality and big variety of products.”
Her personal favorite is the dried okra they sell, and said she and customers appreciate the ingredients in the products.
“There's no garbage you can't pronounce, so when he has apple chips, there’s nothing else in there but dried apples,” she said. “The ingredients are minimal.”
Sierra Vista has been a particularly good market for the line, and Romero has fallen for the community, who accepted him instantly since he first started selling here about five years ago.
“People kept telling me, ‘You should do that market, you will do well,’ and people welcomed me. It's really cool to see that,” he said. “I like the vibe here, and I wish I could have more farmers markets with military people, because they are great customers, really great people, very focused on their families.
“I like that, and I have two kids and a wife, and sometimes I bring them with me just so they can see the atmosphere here.”
Romero said one of his sons has a lot of interest in following in his family’s footsteps, and he sometimes brings him along to practice selling product.
“One of my sons likes it, and he’s really good at sales … ,” he said. “It was amazing seeing him. I stand back just to see him go at it. He was a natural at it.”
Selling the snacks takes standing up and engaging people, handing out snacks for them to try, and truly being a salesman.
Poised behind his table loaded with prepackaged snacks, it’s hard to imagine Romero hasn’t been doing this his whole life.
“I tried different things in life. I'm an industrial engineer, and I worked in an office in the fluorescent light all day from 9 to 5, and it wasn't for me,” he said. “I tried it for two or three years doing that, and I said, ‘You know what, I need to get out of this and do something else,’ and I got into the business.”
Incredible Snacks products are $5 a bag or five bags for $20. They can be found at the Sierra Vista Farmers Market every Thursday.
What: Incredible Snacks
Where to find them: The Sierra Vista Farmers Market
What they sell: A variety of flavored nuts,dried fruits, granolas, etc.
Price range: $5 a bag, 5 bags for $20
For more information: www.facebook.com/IncredibleSnacks