Our first cutting took place on April 10, 2009. Within two weeks we had a deal to begin selling our sauce. The Fresh Market (based in Greensboro NC, with over 90 locations in the eastern US and as far west as Louisiana and Illinois) would become the first store to carry Truly Hawaiian Teriyaki Sauce.
In fact, they agreed to co-brand the product. We would enroll in their private label program, which generates many of The Fresh Market’s labeled products, but still carry our name on the bottle as well. It is such a blessing to have this kind of exposure with such a prestigious store. We are truly gracious for this great opportunity. (If you’re not familiar with The Fresh Market, I urge you to, at a minimum, visit their site and learn more about them. Better yet, find a store near you and visit them for the total experience.)
And the news got even better. As an added bonus from our cutting, we discovered that the Meat and Seafood department was interested in our sauce as their new teriyaki marinade. This was a development we had not foreseen. Basically, the butcher department superbly offers marinated meats, like chicken and steak, ready for purchase — for us it could mean chicken breasts and/ or kabobs. This meant we would need to produce the sauce in gallon-size containers in addition to our retail bottle.
So we had to start down a new path of learning how to produce and pack our sauce in gallon-size containers. While we had toyed with the idea of somehow finding a kitchen and producing the sauce ourselves, it was becoming clear that it was time to find some help. The next step was to begin looking for a “co-packer”, that is, someone who could take our recipe, mass produce it, and bottle and ship it to our new customer.
Let me tell you, that was quite a process….