Bank of the West Congratulates its Client, the Robles Family, on Winning the SBA's California Small Business Persons of the Year Award San Bernardino-Based Business Owners Now Vying for Top Honors as "National Small Business Person of the Year" during May's Small Business Week

SANTA ANA, Calif., May 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Bank of the West congratulates its client the Robles family for being named California's Small Business Persons of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The award recognizes the Robles' success in growing their family-owned wholesale food manufacturing business, Anita's Mexican Food Corp. Three of the five Robles siblings and Anita's owners, Ricardo, Pablo "Rene" and Jackie Robles, will be honored at the Small Business Awards program produced by the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on May 21, 2014.

Anita's began in 1958 as a flour tortilla manufacturer and has become a major flour- and corn-based food manufacturing wholesaler and co-packer of such recognized brands as La Reina, La Tolteca, and Old Pueblo Ranch. They distribute their products nationally and internationally to Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, and throughout South America.

In 2012, Bank of the West, along with the SBA and its lending partners, helped fund the Robles' purchase of a 120,000 square foot facility, totaling more than $9.7 million for real estate, facilities and equipment upgrades. Those upgrades enabled Anita's to increase productivity and helped them to increase revenue by 112% and employment by 129 positions.

"Congratulations to the Robles family for this well-deserved distinction. Theirs is a story of the American dream achieved.  As their SBA loan specialist, I've had the privilege of witnessing some of their success first hand," said Harvey Torres, Orange County-based vice president, SBA Lending at Bank of the West.

Torres continued, "When Mauro, the Robles' patriarch, came from Mexico and opened a small tortilla manufacturer I wonder if he ever imagined the impact his children would make on the company. They have stayed one step ahead of trends and consumer preferences, expanded into new markets and wisely invested for long-term growth. As a result, Anita's products are now an international household name."

By winning the esteemed California SBA accolade over five other state-wide nominees, the Robles family will now contend for the top honor of National Small Business Person of the Year, selected from among the Small Business Persons of the Year winners from each of the 50 states.

"It's rewarding to see this family, a group of very smart, savvy and hardworking business owners, get recognized not just for their own success, but also for how their business has benefitted the community in which they live and work," said Michelle Di Gangi, executive vice president of Small & Medium Enterprise Banking at Bank of the West. "They have taken a long-term approach to strategically growing their business over time. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs myself, I know this is no small feat. All of us here at the bank are very proud of Anita's and the Robles family and we will be cheering them on as they vie for the National Small Business Person of the Year title."

About Bank of the West
Founded in 1874, $68 billion-asset Bank of the West (www.bankofthewest.com), Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender, offers a wide range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services. The bank operates more than 600 retail and commercial banking locations in 19 Western and Midwestern states. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which has a presence in 80 countries with 190,000 employees, including 145,000 in Europe.

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SOURCE Bank of the West




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