ALL ABOUT LIL' OLD US
Where do I start?
We've come a long way since Blake and I sold hot sauces and seasonings at the Farmers Market in Prince George. Back in those days we made our sauces either in my apartment or we'd rent kitchen time from friends that owned restaurants. Usually we'd have to go in after hours and bring all our supplies and gear with us. On a good day, we might have knocked off a hundred bottles or so. So when the opportunity came to use a full blown commercial facility in Salmon Arm, BC, I took a gamble and made the move. That was June of 2002. Blake is still in Prince George and he's putting more time than ever into this project. He maintains our website, designs all our labels, private labels, posters, flyers, print ads, and any other marketing literature that we need. With so many people falling in love with the sauces both Blake and I have been crazy busy! I'm still using the same facility in Salmon Arm, a wonderfully equipped shared use kitchen that was funded by Community Futures of the Shuswap. Unfortunately the kitchen will be closing at the end of September (something about being under utilized). We're disappointed to be leaving this kitchen but now we have a clear idea about exactly what kind of commercial facility we need and we hope to find a new place soon.
The business growth has been phenomenal. Our sauces have won 13 international awards in the last 3 years. It's not too often that someone from “the Great White North” wins these sorts of things and so people who are curious about a Canadian hot sauce are driving our business. Our products are available in hundreds of retail locations in Canada, and we're starting to do business internationally. The future looks very bright indeed.
How did we get here?
Our philosophies are simple. First, we use the finest quality ingredients I can find. We are so fortunate to be situated in the agriculturally diverse Okanagan. I have been able to form relationships with the people that grow our produce. We buy our apples, peaches, and some of our peppers, herbs and ground crops from the Forbes Farm in Oliver. This family takes great pride in the quality of their certified organic fruits and ground crops. Besides being friends, Gord and Steve have the same passion for what they do that I have for what I do. I consider myself lucky to have access to the high quality produce they grow. The same can be said for Martin Trudel in Keremeos, who grows Canada's best Habanero peppers, Meui McKiblin of Pepperforrest, Trevor and Sheldon Evans of Organics Plus in Cawston, Ray Bowden of RB Farms in Vernon and Dick and Eric Mann of Highland Farms in Salmon Arm. It's easy to make the best when you start with the best. Our philosophy of quality continues by always making small batches. Each batch is hand crafted, and I work meticulously to make sure that the flavour and quality are consistent and up to par. And finally, I insist on freshness. I don't keep much more product on hand than required. This way everybody gets as fresh a product as possible.
Where are we going?
I'm going to continue to use local ingredients to formulate new products. I'm always excited to experiment with the fresh and flavorful products grown here in the Okanagan Shuswap. I also want to start growing my own peppers and such. After that, who knows? Three years ago I never thought I'd be here. I'm sure the road will present itself.