CHARLESTON, W.Va. - After years of challenges, Fayette County-based Blue Smoke Salsa has received the backing it needs, said founder Robin Hildebrand-Hannigan.
"I feel like a new person," she said. "I feel God has looked down on Blue Smoke Salsa, Ansted and the state of West Virginia and smiled."
An agreement has been signed for the assets of Blue Smoke Salsa, Inc., to be sold to the Gum family, owners of White House Foods of Winchester, Va.
Blue Smoke products will still be manufactured in Ansted where the retail shop is also located. Hildebrand-Hannigan will remain president of Blue Smoke operations. The deal is to be finalized within 45 days.
Hildebrand-Hannigan, who expects business to grow substantially with the switch, is relieved that she will have time to travel and promote products.
"The plant in Ansted will run at full capacity," she said. "We will keep the staff we have and employ more people. It's a heartwarming story of hanging in there and turning challenges into great opportunities. They bought the assets and will maintain the equipment and the building. I will be leader and president."
John Yates will serve as plant manager while she focuses upon marketing and sales.
She sees similarities between Blue Smoke and White House Foods.
"The parent company of White House is National Fruit Product Co. They pride themselves in growing their own produce. They have orchards."
She said both companies believe in promoting healthy eating through their products.