HISPANIC CHAMBER HONORS
Cancholas named Business Man and Woman of Year
ARIZONA DAILY STAR
Ocotober 18, 2003
By Karen Mracek
Jose and Carmen Canchola will celebrate their 52nd wedding anniversary
Monday, but not before being recognized today as the"Hispanic Businessman and
Businesswoman of the Year."
The unexpected anniversary gift comes courtesy of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of
Commerce. The Cancholas are being honored for their dedication to Tucson's
Hispanic community, said Hilda Oropeza, who chairs the chamber's award selection
The Cancholas were the first Hispanic family in the United States to own a
McDonald's franchise, Oropeza said. They now own eight McDonald's restaurants -
five in Tucson and three in Nogales.
The chamber will recognize the Cancholas' success at tonight's Noche de Exitos,
the 9th Annual Gala of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at the Radisson
Tucson City Center.
"Entrepreneurs like the Cancholas make it possible for minorities to not only
dream about owning their own businesses, but to know it can be a reality,"
It was the qualities Jose and Carmen offer as a team that stood out to the
chamber, which until this year had honored two unrelated people as Hispanic
business man and woman of the year, said Fred Orozco, the Tucson Hispanic
"They truly are a team," Orozco said.
Jose Canchola is chairman of the Canchola Group, the holding company for the
eight McDonald franchises. He has been a member of the McDonald's Corporation
Operators Advisory Board, as well as national franchise director. He and other
Hispanic franchisees organized the McDonald's Hispanic Operators Association in
1977 as a national partnership with the corporation.
When the Cancholas started their first franchise, both worked in the restaurant,
and it was an adjustment for the couple. "In the beginning, I didn't want to see
my husband 24 hours a day," Carmen said.
She worked the night shift, closed the restaurant and did the book work, leaving
the day shifts to Jose. "He has to have his power," she said, "and his own
Carmen Canchola attributes her business knowledge to her husband. "He was my
mentor. Without him, I wouldn't have learned so much," she said.
Now Carmen Canchola runs her own company, C.F.C Enterprises, which operates
three parking lots and a gas station in Nogales. She gets together with
employees every few weeks to talk about their customers and how to take care of
them. "The customers come first, our employees are second, and we're third," she
The Canchola Group was one of four Tucson companies in this year's Hispanic
Business 500. This list by Hispanic Business magazine ranked the company No.
265, with 2002 revenues of $13.4 million.
But it's not all about the money for this power couple. The Cancholas have six
kids and 11 grandchildren, with another one on the way.
"My greatest accomplishment was my family," Carmen Canchola said.
Their children generated the Cancholas' interest in improving educational
opportunities for Hispanic children.
Jose Canchola has served on the White House Commission on Education excellence
for Hispanic Americans for the past two years. Recommendations from the
commission have included the need to encourage Hispanic parents to run for
school boards. "We have an obligation to make sure we have equal
representation," he said.
The commission also encouraged President Bush to open public schools a few
nights a week to facilitate classes where parents can learn English. This "helps
parents to learn the American culture and encourages them to become citizens,"
Jose Canchola said.
Teaching children is impor-tant to the Cancholas. Jose attributes his success to
Jose's first job was picking up trash at Wrigley Field in Chicago. He grew up
watching greats like Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. Now, he is a
limited partner in the Arizona Diamondbacks and has a championship ring from the
2001 World Series.
As a paper boy in Tucson, he delivered newspapers to the the president of
Northern Trust Bank. Now he serves on the board of directors of the Northern
Trust Bank in Tucson.
"They are truly a success story," Oropeza said.
* Contact reporter Karen Mracek, at 573-4179 or at