Recently I had the opportunity to meet with Jason Lamtman the founder of Windham Kitchen to discuss his business. We met at the Cellar Door Coffee shop to talk about how his business got started, how it is going and what plans he has. It’s funny how conversations get started because before we got started on the business side we spent about half an hour talking about a common interest we have.
Windham Kitchen grew out of one of Jason’s hobbies. He and his family grow a garden every year and they can and preserve their harvest. He started making salsa and tweaked the recipe until he got what he really liked. He would share it with family and friends and got some feedback about how good it was. Jason credits his wife and children with being a big support to him in the whole process of starting the business.
The salsa recipe grew into six different kinds and people kept telling him he should sell it. He started attending trade shows and offering samples of the salsa. The sales improved and he had a hard time keeping up with orders. He was growing in a way that was outgrowing his ability to produce the salsa out of his home kitchen.
There were some other obstacles in the way and decisions he had to make. He has a family that he cares about and he works full time. He needed to learn more about starting and running a business. He made the decision to learn more about the business side and partnered with a company to produce and pack the salsa. So the Windham Kitchen officially started in December 2016. The co-packer uses his salsa recipes to insure the quality and consistency in the product.
Of the six salsas he started making he chose two to produce and start selling. He has a Mango Habanero and a Mild available to purchase. Sales have been good and he plans to add a Raspberry Salsa or a Hot variety to the group. The salsa is sold in about twenty locations including all Fin, Feather, and Fur stores, the Villager Emporium and the Windham, Ravenna and Streetsboro American Legion posts.
Being a veteran of the Navy and Air Force reserves Jason has plans to donate a portion of his profits to help veterans and military charities. He would like to partner with non-profits to assist them in fundraising. He has a lot of creative ideas for growing his business.
Last weekend my extended family tried the two salsas and the reactions were pretty good. The hands down favorite was the Mango Habanero. Some of the comments were, “not too hot, enjoyably hot; naturally sweet; perfect ratio of mango to habanero; not too salty and I like the spiciness!” Not a panel of experts but people who buy and eat salsa.
So the next time you want some good salsa think about buying Windham Kitchen (www.windhamkitchen.com). You will be helping a local small business too!