A Bit of a Bite Salsa, Pegge Hein Bellamy
This year, 2016, will be my fifth full year in business and I am headed in the right direction. My sales to date have more than doubled over the last few years. I know that my SCORE mentors are there to encourage and assist me when I have a bump in the road. If they don′t know the answer they help me find one.
In August 2010, I met with SCORE counselors Bob Carlson and Bill Dayton. I was seeking information and was not sure I should begin my business. After the meeting, I realized that I would not be alone in this venture and that I had solid mentors to help guide me on this journey. I seriously took a leap of faith and began to plan my future in the food industry.
When I was in the investigation stage, my plan was to be a “Cottage Kitchen”. Because of health laws, I quickly found out (thanks to Bob and Bill) I could not do this because of the tomatoes in my product. Once I made the decision to start this salsa business I was in for the long run! Where to make the product, where to get my produce, where to buy my tomatoes, where to find jars, how do I have a label made, who evaluates my product for the FDA, how do I take a 1 gallon batch of salsa and make it 60 gallons- 500 gallons, how do I begin! Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done if I didn't have Bob and Bill on my team.
I started with my first production at Ohio State University in the incubator kitchen and in October of 2011 joined Ohio Proud and got involved in the Celebrate Local Store in Columbus. I didn′t have a full plan of what I was doing because I was not sure my product would even sell. My first full year in business was 2012 and I achieved more than I forecasted this year was very encouraging to me. In July of 2012, Dorothy Lane Market (DLM) picked up my product in all three stores in the Dayton area. It was a huge lift for me because when you have a company with high standards such as DLM that respects what I am doing and likes my product, that says volumes.