San Antonio native and founder of Fiesta Brand spices dead at 94 – mySA

San Antonio native and founder of Bolner’s Fiesta Brand spices Clifton Bolner has died, according to a report from the San Antonio Express-News. The publication reported that he died at his Monte Vista home while surrounded by family on Tuesday, January 10. He was 94.

Locals know Bolner best for the company he founded, which is headquartered in San Antonio, and its flavorful Fiesta Brand spices. The colorful spices are used for many dishes, like cajun and seafood, meat rubs, and Mexican recipes.

Soon after its beginning, the company began purchasing spices from around the world. Today the company imports spices from more than 60 countries and offers over 600 different product items.

Bolner gained experience in the food business by working in the family grocery store that his grandfather started in 1906, according to the company’s website. Bolner founded Bolner’s Fiesta Products in 1955 and today is joined by family members who manage the sales, marketing, and production teams of Fiesta.

Freshly packaged crushed red pepper moves on a conveyor belt at Bolner's Fiesta Brand Spices plant in San Antonio on Monday, June 18, 2007. Lisa Krantz/STAFF
Freshly packaged crushed red pepper moves on a conveyor belt at Bolner’s Fiesta Brand Spices plant in San Antonio on Monday, June 18, 2007. Lisa Krantz/STAFFLISA KRANTZ/LISA KRANTZ/SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

According to the Express-News, Bolner split his early adulthood between working at Kelly Air Force Base and at the family grocery store as a butcher and then business partner. He later sold his share of the shop to his uncles to launch Bolner’s Fiesta Spices in 1955.

Texas Monthly reported the family purchased a small automatic-packaging machine that made bags and filled them. The family then purchased a $50,000 grinder for $100 from a closing coffee company, using the grinder to this day.

Looking to build his business, Bolner pitched directly to local grocery shops and even stocked their shelves on occasion, the Express-News reported. In 1960, San Antonio newspapers lauded Bolner for distributing Fiesta’s one-millionth head of garlic after just five years in business. 

In addition to his successful business, Bolner was known as a father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Bolner’s children and grandchildren helped grow the company over the years, keeping it as a multigenerational business. 

Original News Source Link