COVID Stories: Meet Francisco “Paco” Torres, owner of paleteria Polar

The frozen treats at Tyler’s West Gentry Parkway Paleteria Polar look too beautiful to eat. Imagine the sublime colors in a candy store, but with fresh fruit and ice cream, topped with gummy candies and fiery orange-red, chile-spiked Chamoy sauce. Meeting Francisco “Don Paco” Torres, his family members and soccer athletes was a treat, as well. I left only wishing that I had known about this hidden gem in Tyler sooner.

This story marks a proud moment for the Loop as our first-ever story in Spanish. Hear how COVID-19 has impacted Polar’s three locations and the soccer athletes who play for Francisco’s team, the Jaguars; and Francisco’s dream to open a fourth location in South Tyler. Special thanks to the invaluable assistance of translators Paulina Pedroza and Cristal Orozco.

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Jane Neal is the executive director of The Tyler Loop and storytelling director of Out of the Loop: True Stories about Tyler and East Texas. In addition to the Loop, she works at the Literacy Council of Tyler and attends Sam Houston State University remotely, where she studies sociology. Jane is a certified interfaith spiritual guide. She is a member of Leadership Tyler Class 33 and a former teacher of French at Robert E. Lee High School, where she ran a storytelling program called Senior Stories. Jane and her husband Don have four children.