1) Snickers, Skittles and Starburst More than half of the Snicker bars consumed in all of North America are made in Waco, at the Mars Chocolate North America factory. The facility has been in this quirky college town — more infamously known for a biker shootout and the Branch Davidian siege — for some 40 years. The factory employs 500, and also produces nearly all of the Skittles and Starbust consumed on this continent.
2) F-35 Lightning II
Fort Worth has long been home to the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics manufacturing facilities, where modern jet fighters are assembled. The F-35 is the most modern warplane yet, and the world's most expensive — so far, costing an estimated $379 billion for 2,457 aircraft for the Air Force, Navy and Marines. The global impact of the airplane cannot be understated. There will be 10 nations that will buy the F-35; Israel will be the first country to use the F-35 Lightning II outside of the U.S., with the first of at least 33 jets to be delivered in December.
3) Pace Picante Sauce
Created in 1947 by David Pace, the first to commercially use the word “picante” for the salsa (it means “flavorful” or “spicy” in Spanish), Pace Picante Sauce was originally made in the back of a liquor store in San Antonio. Makers were proud of its Tex-Mex roots. The award-winning salsa company was purchased by Campbell’s in 1994 for a whopping $1.2 billion. Eventually the company moved to Paris, Texas, and remains one of the top sellers in the salsa market.
4) Hennessey Venom GT
With the ability to go a record-breaking 270 miles per hour — and zero to 100 in 5.6 seconds — the Venom GT hard top coupe is world’s fastest road car. And it’s made in tiny, unassuming Sealy, Texas, pop. 6200. In March, the car company, Hennessey Performance, announced that the Venom’s convertible version, the GT Spyder, set a new world record for open-top sports cars when it reached a top speed of 265.6 mph in a test in Leemore, California. The company celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
5) San Antonio Shoemakers The company was founded in 1976 in San Antonio and still makes shoes there and in Del Rio — with some hand-stitching and lacing done in Ciudad Acuna, across the Mexican border. This family-owned company specializes in handcrafted shoes for men and women and is among the top sellers on the market.