Founder stories — Why Leaf Burrito is charging forward as the world is pushing pause

It’s been nearly three years since Innovate Charlotte launched with a mission to support the community of entrepreneurs in the Queen City, and here we are, in the midst of the most challenging crisis most of our founders have ever experienced. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges for businesses of all sizes, and our mentors have been hard at work, conducting virtual sessions with all the founders in the INCLT mentorship program to help them find solutions to weather the storm. 

Now, we want to share some of their stories with you, the startups, founders and investors who are part of this community. Maybe you’ll learn about a new business worth watching. Perhaps there’s a way some of you can help. Maybe this could spark some powerful, albeit still virtual, connections. 

Whatever happens, we know there is value in giving our founders and startups a platform to showcase who they are and what they do. So over the next days and weeks, we’ll be doing just that. 

Kicking us off this week is Marc Mataya, of Leaf Burrito

Company: Leaf Burrito Reusable Yard Debris Bag 

Founder: Marc Mataya 

Year launched: 2016

Description: Leaf Burrito® is an innovative and eco-friendly reusable yard-debris bag, invented, designed and manufactured in the USA. Leaf Burrito makes collecting and transporting yard debris easier, quicker and safer, and its unique design opens completely flat then zips up like a sack. It is helping the green industry, landscapers and homeowners save time and money, as well as replace short-lived tarps and single-use plastic and paper bags.

What’s your biggest challenge right now? Setting up our new Burrito Factory and retail location at South Boulevard and Scaleybark Road.

What do you need the most help with? We sell our reusable yard debris bags nationally, and internationally, to landscapers, universities, facilities management companies, resorts and residential home owners. The landscaping and grounds businesses are all still in motion nationally, and our goal is to spread awareness of our reusable yard debris bags to replace plastic bags and tarps and continue our partnership with Keep America Beautiful and its national affiliates. Any relationships with commercial landscapers, grounds management companies, homeowners associations, townships and universities would be of great help to accelerate our pipeline of sales so that we can continue to hire more seamstresses, seamsters, screen printers and fulfillment employees right here in Charlotte.

Can you share with us some good news? We are opening our new Burrito Factory on South Boulevard and hope to expand the business to employ 250 to 1000 new employees over the next two years. We also reincorporated as Burrito Brands Incorporated in January and are releasing multiple new products, such as Gear Burrito, Boat Burrito, Beach Burrito and Tote Burritos. As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on our economy, we are weathering the storm and moving forward with hiring new employees to start staffing our new factory. We believe that sustainability and reducing plastic will not be thwarted by the virus but, in fact, will ultimately bring even more awareness for us to stop using single-use imported plastic products and to focus on reusable and sustainable products.

Thank you to Kepler Team for sponsoring our storytelling efforts. For more information on the INCLT mentorship program, or any of our companies, click here to learn more.