Serves tamales and community

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By Shardai Perry / Asst. Features Editor

Neighbors reaching out- Tamale Factory owner Josie Hornback and Simple Simon’s owner Susie Thiel pose at the Simple Simon’s benefit, hosted by the Tamale Factory. Both owners’ businesses are located in Downtown Riverside. (Erin Rohac / Asst. Features Editor)

By Shardai Perry / Asst. Features Editor

Her life started the day she crossed the border, with two kids and a suitcase.

“How many families do you know that raise a child, send them to college, they decide to open a business, and fail,” Tamale factory owner Josie Hornback said. “I did it on my own and with no schooling and still succeeded.”

Hornback has co-owned the Tamale Factory with her daughter Naomi for about 7 years.

They first started in a small building that is now known as University of California, Riverside future art museum.

They eventually moved into a bigger building in a more friendly area in downtown Riverside off of Main Street.

“The community here was just so friendly, and they welcomed us with open arms. We’re like a big family and we’re all here for each other,” she said, “That’s why when I heard about what happened to Simple Simon’s, there was no question I had to do something to help.”

After a devastating fire at the nearby bistro Simple Simon’s, that left 25 people unemployed along with thousands of dollars worth of damages, Hornback decided to raise money by throwing a benefit held in her restaurant.

“My main concern was the employees. I knew that if Susie (Simple Simon owner) lost her employees, she would have to re-train all new employees, and I know first hand that is very hard to do,” she said.

“I have the best employees, and that’s why I try and keep them forever, they are trustworthy and hardworking,” Hornback said.

Hornback not only reaches out to her neighbors but to strangers who are also in need within the community

“I’m the type of person where if you ask, I’ll do it, not because I know you’ll pay me back, but because I can,” she said, “When your blessed to get a lot of stuff in life, its almost your job to bless others.”

A friend of Hornback started making blankets for the homeless and passing them out at the park a few years ago.

“At first I was just giving her the money to make the blankets but then she asked me to help her pass them out so I did,” she said.

“But I also made hot chocolate and soup or bread to give them too,” she said.

One of Hornback’s mottos in life is “give and forget”, she says she does things for people, not for herself and she nevers expects anything in return.

“If they had it in the first place they wouldn’t need to ask me to borrow it, so why would I expect them to pay me back,” she said.

Hornback believes in living for the moment, not needing to hold back.

“If you have it, give it,” she said. “You can’t just get, get, get all your life. You get and then you give back, it’s a cycle.

Hornback is 70 years old.

She started her business around the age of fifty seven as something to do after her grandchildren started going to school.

“I have nothing left to lose. My kids are grown and taking care of their children. I have a great husband and everything I need in life,” she said.

With the success of her restaurant, Hornback has had many offers from businesses wanting to help her expand.

“If I wanted to franchise and make more money I could, but I have no need to,” she said.

However, Hornback said that the only reason she would expand was “if my daughter decided she wanted to take over, but she’s starting her own career.”

Hornback considers herself to be like any other person but how she became the person she is now was not easy.

“I’m a survivor and I’m proud of being a survivor. I’m blessed, wise and even successful,” she said. “I’m a survivor because of where I came from not where I’m headed. My father left at an early age and my mother struggled to take care of me and my younger siblings.”

Hornback says she came here to make a better life for herself and to give her children a better future.

“It’s not that I’m better than any other person, I just do things better then the average person,” she said, “I’m not the smartest, but I’m not illiterate either.”

Hornback and her husband of thirteen years have traveled all over the world from Rome to Columbia, enjoying life and all of its blessings.

Hornback takes life as it comes to her with no regrets.

“It is what it is, and I am who I am,” she said, “This was my destiny.”



(Nyeisha Smith / Staff Photographer)

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