She started Blue Smoke in the basement of her home in 1993 and the business grew rapidly for several years. In August of 2011, she announced that Blue Smoke would close in October because the business had fallen victim to the economy.
At the time she said foot traffic had slowed to her store at 119 E. Main St. in Ansted. Prices for ingredients had skyrocketed along with the cost of supplies and shipping. Additional business expenses included running a website, purchasing equipment, building renovations and inventory.
She needed time to build national accounts by traveling to other states where she could compete by letting folks taste products. That was not possible because her time was consumed with day-to-day operations.
To stay in business, she was granted one extension on loans and then forced to ask for another. She said lenders had been generous but they were simply unable to extend her loans.
She was on an emotional roller coaster. She prayed for a miracle.
Hundreds of postings appeared on Facebook from folks asking her not to leave and politicians also went to bat for her. She went to more meetings with lenders and loan extensions were granted.
The retail market closed for a few months but production continued so that Blue Smoke products could be purchased online as well as at various outlets.
She feels the latest turn of events will help business soar. Plans are in the works for additional packaging, from single-serve sizes to large gallon containers suitable for restaurants.
The Blue Smoke Salsa retail store at 119 E. Main St. in Ansted is now open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Production days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
For more information, go to www.bluesmokesalsa.com or call 304-658-3800.
Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at charlo...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1246.