ARLINGTON — As much as the San Juan Salsa Co. remains committed to serving nothing but handcrafted salsas, they’ve nonetheless outgrown their facilities and will be expanding into a new building by the end of the year.
Sandy Albright, who’s been with the company since it came to Arlington in 1991, explained that she and her fellow partners felt strongly about staying in town, but couldn’t find a structure that was the right size. That’s why they’ll be building a new facility a few blocks south of their existing location in the same industrial park east of the Arlington Airport.
“We’ve been growing steadily for the past four years, and we’ve finally just run out of space,” Albright said. “One of the main reasons for our move is that we have to cook and package our salsa in the same space, but we can’t do it on the same day. From now until September, we’ll have to work seven days a week just to keep up with demand. We already did that during the Super Bowl season this year. Folks really love salsa with their football.”
The company’s current location includes 1,000 square feet of production space, 1,500 square feet of food storage space and 500 square feet of office space. The new facility, by Mount Vernon-based Spane Buildings, will total 10,000 square feet. Albright touted the 50-year lease that she and the other three partners have worked out with the city, whose officials she praised for “being so fabulous.”
Although San Juan Salsa has already been stocked at QFC and Whole Foods for years, Albright anticipates the company’s move will allow it to expand to Haggen and Safeway stores. She’s also approached Fred Meyer, and she hopes to be able to present two new types of salsa and chips.
In addition to the two married couples who serve at the company’s partners, San Juan Salsa employs two full-time drivers and two part-time production personnel, the latter of whom work closer to full-time hours during the summer. With the company’s new building, which Albright expects will cost $750,000, she looks forward to adding one full-time and one part-time driver, as well as three full-time production positions.
“My husband makes all the salsas,” Albright said. “Every vegetable and spice we select will pass through his inspection first. Even as we grow, we will never mass-produce our salsas. Even now that it takes two separate days to cook and package our salsas, it still takes us no more than three days to produce them from when we get the ingredients in. Everything is kept fresh. Our standards are quality and consistency.”