About La Tienda
Our Mission Statement
La Tienda supports Spain and her culture by offering the deepest selection of high quality traditional and iconic products. Whenever possible we support family-owned companies that produce hand-made products using free-range and sustainable resources. Our goals are to treat our customers and employees like family, to educate our customers about the products, values and traditions of Spain, and to be the recognized leader in offering fine Spanish products to America and Canada.
Our Growing Company
We founded La Tienda in 1996 in Williamsburg, Virginia. Our family lived in Spain during the 1970's, and we wanted to share with our neighbors a taste of Spain -- as well as her grace, warmth and traditions. Family is our focus, just as the family is central to life in Spain. We hope to share that emphasis with everyone we work with: you our customers, our employees, and our vendors. And of course nothing brings a family together like a wonderful meal! Our company has grown steadily over the years, and today we carry hundreds fine products from across Spain. From our warehouse in Virginia, we deliver the broadest selection of fine Spanish food and related products available anywhere. Consistent with our purpose, La Tienda supports a healthy and productive work environment for our employees, both in Spain and in Virginia.
Supporting Traditional Spain and Sustainable and Ethical Production
We travel to Spain frequently, renewing friendships with those who provide us with their fine products and searching out new and interesting artisanal items to add to the growing list of products available online and through our catalog. Whenever possible, we work with small family-run businesses in Spain, many of whom are continuing food-making traditions that go back generations. We also do all that we can to support sustainable agriculture and fisheries, and the ethical treatment of animal. We hope to help our Spanish suppliers to stay connected to the land and their traditions. In turn, we hope that you will enjoy in your home the authentic flavors of Spain that have enriched our lives.
Our Commitment to You
None of this would be possible without a fundamental commitment to your experience as a customer. We guarantee a positive experience for you -- quality products delivered in excellent condition, or we will replace or refund your purchase. Many of our best products were suggested by our customers and we encourage and benefit from a very active relationship with our wonderful customers. Whether you are from Spain, related to a Spaniard or just love the country and her food, we hope that you find La Tienda a welcoming place to visit and shop. Whether you are visiting our website or our retail store in Williamsburg, VA, we are always happy to hear from you.
Official Cross of the Order of Civil Merit
On October 11, 2012, La Tienda co-founder Don Harris was awarded Spain’s Official Cross of the Order of Civil Merit on behalf of His Majesty the King of Spain, by Ramón Gil-Casares, Ambassador of Spain to the United States. The award was given in recognition of Harris’ extraordinary services promoting the people, culture and foods of Spain in the United States.
National Outstanding Workplace of the Year
On April 3, 2012, the Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) awarded La Tienda the National Outstanding Workplace of the Year for its six year commitment to providing English classes free of charge for Spanish-speaking employees. The purpose of the Outstanding Workplace of the Year, Chester Klevins Award is to honor an institution which has developed an outstanding workplace literacy program serving a local community, state/province, region and/or nation.
Outstanding Workplace Education Partnership Award
On October 13, 2010, the Virginia Association for Adult and Continuing Education (VAACE) honored La Tienda with the Outstanding Workplace Education Partnership Award for providing English as a second language classes to their Spanish speaking employees, free of charge.
The Captain John Smith Award
In September 2010 La Tienda was awarded the Captain John Smith Award at their local county's 17th annual Celebration of Business. The honor is awarded annually by the James City County Economic Development team to an individual or business for exemplary contributions to their local community.
Campaign For Spain: Over $100,000 Raised for Spanish Food Banks
Our La Tienda Campaign For Spain raised over $100,000 to bring essential food supplies to struggling families in Spain during the 2008 economic crisis. With unemployment at over 25% and many in need, we were proud to support the people of Spain, a country that we consider our second home. All of the funds raised by this initiative directly benefited the Spanish Federation of Food Banks (FESBAL). Thank you to our customers for supporting this effort!
Now how exactly did the Harris family get so involved with Spain?
Our appreciation of the traditional Spanish culture began about forty-five years ago, and continues to grow each year as our family continues to explore the back roads and by-ways of Spain, experiencing the regional traditions that make Spain unique. In particular, we value the ways that artisans produce their food, the pace and methods that are time-honored. We are committed to supporting these traditional ways of life by bringing their hand made products to a broader market.
Don, the father of the family, first experienced Spain when he stepped ashore as a young US Navy chaplain in 1965. Eight years later, he and his wife Ruth raised their young family among the sherry bodegas of El Puerto de Santa María (Cádiz) when Don was stationed at Base Naval de Rota. As they enjoyed life with their sons in a Spanish neighborhood, they grew to appreciate the personal dimension of Spanish life, where children are cherished and family ties are central.
They have carried that appreciation forward into the formation of La Tienda.com where two of their three sons, Jonathan and Tim, are responsible for the day to day operation of the business. Jonathan, the middle son of three, is head of product development and is the creative director, responsible for the look and feel of the website and our catalog. A fine arts major, musician and cook, Jonathan spent a summer walking the Camino de Santiago during college and returned to walk it again with his wife Stacey several years later for their honeymoon. Tim, the eldest son, is responsible for the operational and financial side of the business and joined La Tienda in 2002 after founding and operating several Internet startups during the 90's. He spent his first years of primary school at El Centro Ingles in El Puerto de Santa Maria and returned many times to Spain while growing up, including spending a summer in Sevilla. Christopher, the youngest, is a diplomat with the US Foreign Service, and while not involved with the business directly, consults closely with his family on La Tienda matters.
For a more detailed account of how La Tienda.com came to be, you can read Don's reflection A Love Affair with Spain: How La Tienda Began.
To read more about the people, food and soul of Spain, order The Heart of Spain: Families and Food by La Tienda founder Don Harris.
To learn more about Spain's influence on early Virginia history, click here.