Taco Box International was founded by Bill Crombie in El Paso, Texas, in the mid 1960's. Company owned and franchised Taco Box locations were opened in California, Texas and New Mexico. In all about 15 units were opened between 1967 and 1970.
Tom Martin and Ron Dudas were college students in the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University in the spring of 1969. Ron was to graduate in June, Tom still lacked a year. Ron thought it would be advantageous to be in business for himself and convinced Tom to become his partner. They looked at several franchise operations, including Arby’s and McDonald's. During the time they were searching, Fred Kewley appeared on campus. Fred was a Cornell graduate, was working for Taco Box International and was in Ithaca, New York, looking for franchisees.
Ron and Tom were intrigued by the idea and took a weekend trip to El Paso with a side trip to Farmington, New Mexico, a site that had been picked for a future Taco Box. They liked what they saw and bought a franchise. In August of 1969, the Farmington operation opened and 5 days later, Tom returned to Ithaca, New York, to finish college. Ron remained to operate Taco Box.
In June of 1970, Tom graduated and headed west. Ron had negotiated a deal to purchase the Taco Box in Clovis, New Mexico, from Jim Story, who had opened the store in February of 1969. Tom began operating that location.
Shortly thereafter, Tom and Ron amicably split the business, Tom took the Clovis store while Ron retained the Farmington operation. Ron has since sold the store in Farmington.
For various reasons the parent company folded in 1971. Most of the original Taco Box units closed subsequently and now there remain only three, two from the original franchise (Clovis and Farmington), and one in Portales, New Mexico.
The legal entity that owns the Taco Box locations in Clovis and Portales is Tucumcari Springwater & Seed Co., Inc.* Over the years there have been several stockholders in the company, but now Tom is the sole shareholder and answers only to the customers, the employees and his lovely and charming bride since 1971, Gail.
On October 16, 1985, a second facility was opened in Clovis in the North Plains Mall on North Prince Street. On September 8, 1987, we opened our third location at 1208 W. 2nd Street in Portales. This facility was formerly Taco Grande which had been operated by Gerald and May Dell Daughrity. The North Plains Mall location was closed in December of 2003.
In 1986, Tucumcari Springwater & Seed Co., Inc. purchased the rights to the name "Taco Box" from Bill Crombie of El Paso and now have registered the trademark.
*We have never done business in Tucumcari, we have never sold spring water and we have never sold seeds. But, yes, we are incorporated.