The Tamale Story

Like all great entrepreneurs, we once were a very clueless bunch. We are a family first and foremost, a family made up of dreamers and go getters. Truthfully, we were in it for our Mama. What Mama wants, Mama gets. So, we worked. We worked for The Tamale Store while attending school, paying for college, and beginning our own families and individual journeys. Each of us had our life goals set: an aspiring Doula, Human Rights Attorney, and Boxer.

Mom’s delicious tamales had other plans. Destiny stepped in and by popular demand, we had TONS of work on our hands. Mama Martha needed us more than ever, so we chose the path less traveled and focused on the family business, forgoing our individual plans and diving head first into a world of uncertainty and probable instability. FAMILY FIRST and we were in it to win it (*ahem* voted best Tamales 312 times, just sayin’). Thankfully, our wide eyed ambition won the fight and to this day, we get to (some days we’d say “have to”) work together daily. Because of you, our loyal tamale-lovers, we are able to serve our local community, create new products, and continue to build our empire one stack of masa at a time. We may joke that our tamales are “better than yo’ mama’s” but truthfully we all know nothing beats your mama’s cookin’. From a few of your local Latino entrepreneurs, we say THANK YOU and Buen Provecho!

Meet our Family

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The Game Changer: Martha castillo

I’ve had spices in my blood since the day I was born into a large food-loving family in Mexico City. I spent my childhood trailing my older sisters (I’m the youngest of nine) in our beautiful Mestiza kitchen getting my hands into anything they would allow. I grew up admiring my father’s love and affinity for cooking. His ability to combine flavors and textures was pure magic.  The kitchen was always the heart and soul of our home.To this day the kitchen is still my happy place; my playground. It’s where I find Zen; it’s my home. The kitchen transports me back to the days I spent strolling the open-air mercados of Mexico City (in my bell bottoms of course). A city where food, passion, aromas, music, and colors collide. I was absolutely enchanted with the street food and traditions found there. For me, food is family; it’s celebration, legacy, and tradition. I love the challenge of creation. Combining rich traditional Mexican flavors with modern culinary concepts is where my artistry thrives. Finding that beautiful balance between traditional and contemporary is where I truly believe the heart and   soul of modern Mexican cuisine is found.

Interests:  Cooking, meditating, running, yoga, her kids, Mel Gibson, chips and salsa, reading, her crazy grandchildren, telenovelas, being awesome.

Favorite Quote: “Put some Vicks Vapor Rub on it”- Every Mexican mom to ever live.


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The Visionary: Pauline Pimienta

I was on my way to an Ivy League Law School when it dawned on me that I was on the wrong path in life. I had spent years in college, the entire time working towards a becoming an attorney.  I majored in Women’s Studies with an emphasis in law and criminology. I graduated (with honors a ’hem) and found myself dissatisfied. During this time, The Tamale Store had already started up. I absolutely loved being a part of it. I guess the word “love” is an understatement. IT SET MY HEART ON FIRE. Everything about being an entrepreneur excited me. It was that AHAH moment as Oprah likes to say, when I realized that all I wanted in life was to watch this baby business grow while working alongside my family on a daily basis. That was 10 years ago, and I can honestly say that this baby business that's now a sassy pre-teen, still sets my heart on fire.

Interests:  Marketing, rap music, exercising,  playing hide and go seek with her daughter, big trucks, anything with chocolate, coffee, high heels,  reading, politics, debating, beer, debating about politics while drunk, Anderson Cooper, Mexican candy, being sarcastic, being awesome. 

Favorite quote: “Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business” -Rachel Hollis 


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The wisdom seeker: Maria Stanzak

I think being self employed is good for the soul. It helps you grow. Its also not for the faint of heart.  It is challenging and it pushes you to the brink of crazy at times, but if you listen closely, you realize that every struggle, every challenge, every problem, is actually a lesson in disguise. I think as a family we’ve listened closely. I truly believe that's why we’ve been so successful. We don’t give up when times get hard. We only get stronger. I think we learned that from my mama.

I love every part of what I do. I run the financial show for The Tamale Store. Honestly, being the oldest of 4 kids, I’m also the most responsible lol (but seriously). I went to school to be a nurse. More specifically, a doula. I wanted to deliver babies into this glorious and miraculous earth. I wanted to witness a miracle daily. When the opportunity arose to fully be a part of the business though, I didn’t hesitate. Deep down I knew that's what I wanted. I still witness a miracle daily, but in different ways. Hugging my mom good morning as we sit in alongside one another in our office and drink coffee while we work together is a miracle.  Meeting customers from all over the world, some who flew in specifically for us, is a miracle. Watching our American Dream actually become a reality, in a world that says the American Dream is now harder and harder to attain, is a miracle.

Interests:  My kids and sexy firefighter husband, hiking, yoga, reading, healthy stuff, thinking I’m a  psychic medium (usually after 4 beers), crystals, and new age-y stuff.

Favorite Quote:

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The Millenial

Growing up with 3 older sisters sucked. They were also a lot older than I was, so life was tough. Buuuut, I will say, that it was because of those sassy, crazy, wide-eyed and ambitious Latinas that I am the man I am today. Obviously my mama had most to do with how incredibly amazing and handsome I am, but I gotta give those girls some credit. The truth is, I feel blessed every single day to work alongside such strong women. It is truly inspiring.

I chose this path not too long ago. The Tamale Store had already been up and running for a while before I decieded to take the big leap. I went to college at NAU (GO LUMBERJACKS, ASU STINKS, don't tell Pauline I said that). I was super undecided on what I was going to do with my life. I enjoyed cooking and boxing. “Hmmm, maybe I could become a millionare as a boxer/chef reality TV show star ” I thought. Well, since I couldn’t do that, I decided to work for The Tamale Store. Honestly, it was just for a second until I figured my life out. I quickly realized that I absolutely loved loved loved it. Honestly, these girls are lucky to have me….(don't tell them I said that).

-Eddy Pimienta

Interests: Girls

Favorite Quote: A dream


Copyright 2013 The Tamale Store LLC.  All Rights Reserved 

Photography by: Stanzak Photography