There are scores of beloved Texas brands that were born here but are no longer manufactured in the Lone Star State, thanks to mergers, acquisitions, outsourcing to other countries and all that. So here we celebrate those global products — cowboy hats, pickup trucks, warplanes, guns, hot sauce — that are built here and shipped to the rest of the world.
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commercially use the word “picante” for the salsa (it means “flavorful” or “spicy” in Spanish), Pace Picante Sauce was originally made in the back of a liquor store in San Antonio.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.
6) Stetson cowboy hats
The fact that Stetson hats are made in Texas is truly a sign that there is still hope for the world. While the famous 10-gallon hat made by the John B. Stetson Company was invented in Philadelphia, the hats are now being manufactured in Garland by Hatco, Inc. The 151-year-old company stopped manufacturing up north in 1970. The company produces some 3,000 Charlie 1 Horse, Dobbs, Resistol and Stetsons — which include not just cowboy hats but other types of dress hats — each day.
7) Mossberg Shotguns This should come as no surprise, but O.F. Mossberg & Sons, the nation’s largest shotgun manufacturer, is located in Eagle Pass, on the Texas-Mexico border. The gun company decided a few years ago that Connecticut, where production used to happen, was hostile to the Second Amendment. Naturally, the company looked to Texas to find relief, and now manufactures 90 percent of its guns in the Lone Star State.
8) Apple Mac Pro Austin used to have Dell, but their plant moved to China. Then in 2013, Apple announced that it would be manufacturing its Apple Mac Pro in Austin as part of its $100 million “Made in the USA” campaign. The tech-happy city rolled out the welcome wagon, stepping up with millions in incentives in exchange for Apple keeping and adding thousands of jobs.
9) Justin Boots Justin Boots has been making western and work boots and footwear since 1879, when founder H.J. Justin opened up his shop in Spanish Fort, Texas, straight up north near the Oklahoma border. Sales reached $1 million by 1947. An industry leader, Justin still makes its boots out of some products that are imported, but has four American factories, including one in El Paso, Texas. In 2000, billionaire investor Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathoway bought the company.
10) Toyota Tundra The fact that one of America’s most widely driven pick-up trucks is assembled in San Antonio is a bragging right not missed at all by the Japanese car company, which calls that fact “one of Toyota’s biggest sources of pride.” The company’s website tells visitors that “the 1794 Edition takes its name from the founding year of the historic JLC Ranch on which the plant is located.”
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