LA Taco

    • indiana la taco

Walter Aguirre, a student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania with an entrepreneurial bent, was seeking a way to provide additional income for his family.  He approached the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center (SBDC) with several ideas for starting a business.

The SBDC helped Aguirre research his ideas and decide on the path he would take. Originally from Los Angeles, Walter felt there was a gap in the market when it came to Hispanic foods. He knew that the Latino population was migrating into virtually every town in America and consequently introducing more and more Americans to the foods of Latin America. He also knew that sales of salsa now exceeded those of ketchup. He felt this was an excellent time to launch a business providing food services based upon Latin cuisines. Aguirre raised money through family and friends to establish a food trailer, and began offering his menu of tacos and related food offerings at various locations including Kittanning, Indiana, Ford City, and New Kensington. 

The SBDC helped Aguirre choose a brand name for the fledgling business, L A Taco. The name suggests authenticity and supports not only Mexican style tacos, but also allows for the introduction of a fusion of international flavors. The SBDC acted as an ally and sounding board throughout the process. Aguirre has developed a brand identity and a loyal following through friendly service, quality food, and a strong social media presence.

Aguirre has gone from operating four hours per week at two locations to operating 40 hours per week, and has added a food truck to go along with his initial trailer.  He now operates at multiple locations across Western Pennsylvania. He employs two people in addition to himself, and anticipates further expansion and additional hires. The expansion has been driven largely by loyal customers who have recommended additional locations and worked to get him authorizations to set up.

A Marine and veteran of Afghanistan, Aguirre now has an additional means of support for his family. Residents of the Western Pennsylvanian towns he serves now have another food option, and judging from LA Taco's popularity, are very pleased.

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