ElPozo: from a local shop to a worldwide reference

Tomás Fuertes

An entrepreneur by vocation, Tomás Fuertes has been working for the business holding company he presides for over 60 years. Grupo Fuertes is a global reference in the agri-food sector with operations in 118 countries with 100% Spanish capital.


When I talk about Grupo Fuertes, I always say we’re a hybrid project: the combined efforts of a farmer and a gardener. In 1935, my parents, Antonio and Piedad, opened a small food store in the “El Pozo Concejil” square in Alhama de Murcia, Spain. My father was known in town as “Antonio, from the well” because there was a water well for local consumption right in front of the shop. And that is where it all began.

Cold meats and sausages were the main offerings in my parents’ store. My story is linked to this humble establishment, where I started leading the shop’s purchasing tasks and where my professional career began. I grew up helping my parents and my brother and sister in the store, an experience that instilled a strong work ethic, responsibility, and the need to work with a positive mindset.

Life is about wanting to learn, knowing and having the means, but enthusiasm is the most important thing. If you do a good job, there’s no doubt that your plans will turn out.

Today, our organization is a consolidated project with a more than 65-year history. Over the years, we have successfully merged our family and corporate values to make decisions, consolidate our brand identity and build a strong, thriving and united company. Humility, effort and honesty are the cornerstones of our success.

Globalization and diversification

Grupo Fuertes is a holding company where the second and third generations coincide. The Group includes more than 20 companies, mainly in the agri-business industry, although over the years, we branched out to other sectors. These include real estate, infrastructure, leisure parks and hotel chains, among others.

This diversified approach allows us to better manage problems that might arise in a specific sector. Our objective is to grow responsibly, which is precisely why we decided to diversify our business model. Bridging different sectors gives us a stronger business base for the future.

Within this umbrella of companies, ElPozo Alimentación is the most representative. We’re very attentive to people’s needs in order to stay attuned to new food trends, consumer expectations, and the best way to respond to them.

Nowadays, it’s not a matter of competing within your region or country, but with the entire world. Today’s market is totally globalized. In this sense, innovation is essential.

ElPozo’s products can be found in eight out of 10 Spanish households. We are the market leader in Spain and have a high market share, yet need to look beyond our borders in order to continue growing. Nowadays, it’s not a matter of competing within your region or country, but with the entire world. Today’s market is totally globalized.

In this sense, innovation is essential. We’ve developed over 1,500 references in pork, turkey, chicken and beef products to offer the broadest assortment possible.

A value-driven company

Rather than money, my father’s legacy was the principles he left us. When we took the reins of the company, we remained faithful to them, always striving for ongoing improvement, excellence and the pursuit of a job well done.

As a child, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to fully live out these values, but I’ve succeeded thanks to three basic principles: passion, sacrifice and honesty. For me, this last value – honesty – is the most important for one’s personal and professional development.

Rather than money, my father’s legacy was the principles he left us. When we took the reins of the company, we remained faithful to them, always striving for ongoing improvement, excellence and the pursuit of a job well done.

It’s very important for people to highlight their positive qualities. It’s a matter of defining one’s strengths and applying them, because at birth, not only a person is born, a project is born. A person’s strength stems from their enthusiasm, work ethic, drive and honesty.

Success is the result of all of these qualities. Successful people are those who have been able to leverage their intrinsic values. Each of us should manage our lives like a corporation and, at the end of our days, strive to show a balance sheet with a profit.

The importance of teamwork

I’ve been a very fortunate person because I’ve been able to find my vocation. I don’t define myself as a specialist; I’m a businessperson. What’s the difference? A specialist knows a lot about certain subjects, while a businessperson knows how to coordinate other people’s knowledge.

Our ability to manage others is only possible if we have a strategic and global vision of our business and clear ideas about what needs to be done.

Professional qualification is an important factor to consider when creating teams. When we started out, we addressed a range of areas – production, finance, technical functions and commercial areas – but when you reach a certain size, you have to hire specialists and coordinate their work.

The most important thing is harnessing each person’s unique capabilities until their role becomes a true calling. You must fall in love with your work. I always say that there is no such thing as an incompetent employee or manager, there are just people in the wrong position.

The role of innovation: a new paradigm

My philosophy is to combine the past while envisioning the future. This is when we create a present in order to build strengths and minimize weaknesses.

We can’t change the rhythm of life because our culture, our society and humanity flow like a river with its own set channel. The key is ensuring a riverbed that builds, rather than destroys.

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