Paul Cruz, a Mexican pharmacist, began crafting his unique vitamins, massage oils and herbal topical products in his 1,200 sq. ft. building in Los Angeles. He named his business De La Cruz Products .
Paul sometimes went to rural areas to pick his own herbs and regularly ventured out to sell to stores in his Volkswagen Bus. He distributed his products almost exclusively to pharmacies and markets serving the Latino population in Southern and Central California and Arizona. He advertised on local Spanish-language radio stations, with some of the ads costing only $10! Some of his initial items such as the dietary supplements Super Macho® (1966) and Globulo Rojo® (1969) went on to become established brands.
One of Paul’s regular customers was Spero Kessaris, a pharmacist who owned Santa Cruz Drugs in Wilmington, CA. He regularly bought Super Macho® vitamins and other products from Paul, and the pair built a solid business relationship over the years. As one of the retail pioneers in 1970’s Wilmington, Spero sold products desired by the Hispanic community, such as Spanish magazines, newspapers and greeting cards, medicinal herbs and toiletries.
Fun fact: Still at the company today is Paul’s beloved 1923 Underwood typewriter, with which he used to type business letters, and carbon copy invoices!
When Paul decided to retire in the mid 1970’s, he felt confident in selling his business to Spero, knowing the future of his products would be in good hands.
Spero initially ran the operation with one employee in Paul’s original facility.
Throughout the decade the company launched new products and brands like Desempacho® antacid liquid (1972), Bactimicina® throat lozenges (1978) and Ocusan® eye drops (1979) that are selling nationally today!
In the late 1970’s De La Cruz Products moved to a larger location in the nearby the city of Paramount.
The company then expanded the size of its facilities and hired R&D, Sales and additional Production team members. New equipment was gradually added to increase the efficiency of the production lines.
Although Spero was also running Santa Cruz Pharmacy along with his wife Carmen, he was highly involved in production, finding suppliers and promoting the De La Cruz product line. His main promotional tool were ads on Spanish TV and radio in Los Angeles.
The company introduced new massage and skin moisturizer oils, and that was only the beginning of what would later become a successful product line.
Some of the early product launches were Soothing Balsam Oil / Bálsamo Tranquílo and Oil of Rosemary Compound / Aceite De Romero Compuesto in 1984. Their formulation and packaging have seen a series of updates throughout the decades.
The company launched Zap® Lice Shampoo, one of its first medicines in 1986.
The real catalyst for the company’s future growth was new distribution by national chains like Walmart and Walgreens in the early 1990’s, with an initial presence in Chicago, Texas, California, Nevada and Arizona.
A few years later Spero and Carmen sold the Santa Cruz Pharmacy to focus on the expansion of the company. De La Cruz Products changed its name to DLC Laboratories to reflect the growth of other brands in addition to De La Cruz®.
In the early 2000’s distribution expanded to the East Coast, where the De La Cruz® brand and the company were almost unknown. The key focus was New York City as well as the Mid-Atlantic states and Florida.
Toyota Tacoma Print Ad Featuring Super Macho Year published 2000
The company launched some new carrier oils and started a topical line with Arnica Salve / Pomada de Árnica (1993), De La Cruz® Camphor Ointment / Pomada de Alcanfor (1996), and Sulfur Ointment Acne Treatment / Pomada de Azufre (1996).
There were additional product introductions in the skincare category with De La Cruz® Glycerin and Rose Water / Glicerina y Agua de Rosas (2001), Coconut Oil / Aceite de Coco (2003) and the popular Vitamin E / Vitamina E cream and oil (2008).
Other new items included Essential Oils and more Carrier Oils. DLC was one of the first companies in the USA to offer high quality, reasonably priced Essential Oils, including the popular De La Cruz® Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil / Aceite de Arbol de Té.
Today, we have more than 70 products in out portfolio, in categories including Skin & Hair Care, Essential Oils, first Aid, Over-the-Counter-Medicines, Dietary Supplements, and more.
In 2021 DLC became a solar powered manufacturing facility with a roof mounted system.
Fun fact: the roof’s solar array will produce enough power in a year to charge almost 19,000,000 cellphones!
You can find now find DLC brands in leading drug store chains, supermarkets, independent pharmacies, independent markets, and also on E-Commerce.
Be sure to check out De La Cruz® 10% Sulfur Ointment Acne Treatment which has gone viral with feature articles in Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue and more!
Many new DLC products, line extensions and product formulations are in response to consumer feedback, trends and needs for today’s world.
February 1976, Farmacia Santa Cruz, Wilmington, California
For generations DLC has offered proven products the whole family can use with comfort and confidence.
As its 60th anniversary approaches, DLC looks to the future with optimism and a determination to continue building upon our founders’ legacy of integrity, innovation, and social responsibility.