E. Franco & Co. Inc., began operations in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico in the year 1850, as a chocolate factory, under the direction and supervision of Don Feijo. It was a successful business and because of that, in 1900, it was appraised even in the United States for the quality level of its products.
Beginning the 20th century, Don Enrique Franco came from Andalusia, Spain. He brought the original recipe of our famous "Brazo Gitano". Known in America as the "Jelly roll" or "Swiss roll", here in Puerto Rico was called: "BRAZO GITANO FRANCO", and this name defined the company's identity. After that, Don Enrique partnered with a man called Don Mantaras. The commercial strategies of both men took the company to new heights, transforming the business into one of the most prestigious companies in Mayagüez and the towns around.
In 1925 the company was located right in the middle of Mayagüez (the downtown area) and it was called "La Bolsa" ("The Bag"), which also was a restaurant. The restaurant closed operations, and it was converted in a Café.
In 1941, the business was good, it offer: a store, a little market and Café. All in one. Ramón López, Carlos López and Luis Rodríguez, who came from Spain and established in Mayagüez, were the ones that incorporated the company.
For a while E. Franco & Co, Inc., was located in the Mendez Vigo Street, but on the other side from were it is located today, in that same street. In that location (which was the original one, by the way) the confectionery or "repostería", functioned with an old wooden oven (old but very effective!). The Guava ("Guayaba" in spanish) bought to the local farmers, was then extracted, stored in cans and prepared right there. This method of preparation gave this "cake" a unique flavor and, together with Pineapple, were the favorites flavors among the faithful clients. In a daily basis, an average of 40 guava flavored cakes (brazos gitanos) were sold.
During the 1980's came the expansion and with that also the flavors became more diverse. Introduced during that time, was the Brazo Gitano with Creme filling. By that time the "Brazos Gitanos de Franco" were roaming the whole island, especially San Juan (the capital of Puerto Rico), where they were (and are) very appreciated and recognized.
Dedication, passion, and love for this exquisite delicatessen, transformed this company into an entity by itself, a part of the Puerto Rico's tradition, specifically the west side of Puerto Rico. Brazo Gitano Franco is located in Mayagüez also known as "La Sultana del Oeste", or the "Western Sultana" in English.
The building were Franco is located still resembles and keeps the original design from those old times, it was built by the Spaniards. Walls are made from red bricks, and the majestic columns gives the place a very special, nostalgic touch, perfect for those who like to see, feel and experiment the fusion of past and present. It is like a small Museum. It is something you don't want to miss if you ever come to Mayaguez or visit Puerto Rico. Come and visit Brazo Gitano Franco.
Our slogan or say is based on the same principles used for our founders: "Giving just the best to our clients". All and each of our products are made with the best ingredients, period. To keep our clients hungry for more, from Monday to Friday we offer 2 Lunch "specials", and we also prepared the best Sandwiches in town.
All year round we prepare Baskets or "Canastas" for any special ocassion like Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas, New Year's eve, Birthdays, you name it, we have a Basket for the occasion. We put our very best effort during Christmas season, when we prepare special baskets fill with any kind of delicatessen from Puerto Rico and/or Spain that you can imagine! "Turrones", Fruit Cakes and "Panetones" are the call of the day in December. Clients can also buy those (Turrones, Fruit Cakes and Panetones) as solo products. Some of the delicious desserts that we have and prepare right here are: Mazapan de almendra (Almond Bread), Yema y Fruta. You can find our products in some Supermarkets in the west side of Puerto Rico.
Also in Franco, you can find the finest chocolates, cookies, fine meat and ham cuts, exotic cheese and the very best Wines you can find in Puerto Rico.
One element that characterize our company is the social support. It is a genuine interest by E. Franco's management to promote communal activities, to sponsor cultural, recreational and sports events. In Brazo Gitano Franco we think that the "Human Capital" plays a decisive and important role in the success of our business. And for so many years, we still think the same. Some of our employees have more than 40 years working for this institution. We have one example: Don Eladio Ramirez, who passed in 2001, and who gave his whole life working for this company.
There is a very popular saying among people who visits the Island of Puerto Rico and specifically Mayagüez. "If you visit Mayagüez, and don't stop at Franco's, is like you never been in Mayagüez!"
Today, we have 22 flavors of Brazo Gitano available at any time, any moment. From Carrot to Chocolate, and also the Low sugar version, to please the most demanding tastes. Then maybe, this is the only one excuse you will have to come back for more, and visit in Mayagüez, what today is one of the favorite tourist spots of the western area of Puerto Rico.