Beelzebub's Salsa

    • ss gannon beelzebub's salsa

Eric Laughery is a young man who enjoys gardening and has developed a taste for salsa. In 2005 he began home kitchen experimentation with small batches of original recipe salsas featuring fresh ingredients from his garden. He enjoyed these products with his friends and family, and he received considerable positive feedback from those who had tried the different types of salsa.

In 2009, Laughery established a brand name, Beelzebub Salsa, secured label approvals, and developed a plan to test market several of the varieties of fresh/refrigerated salsas in local independent restaurants and through direct contacts with individual consumers at seasonal festivals and farmers markets. He intended to continue manufacturing the products in his home’s kitchen. Laughery committed to using fresh ingredients whenever possible, sourced from his own garden and/or from local farmers who subscribed to sustainable agricultural practices. This premise, to which he continues to adhere, has proven to be a key marketing point for Beezlebub’s.

In February 2010, Laughery contacted the Gannon University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Crawford County Outreach Office to confirm he was in compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements. He understood that his kitchen needed to be inspected and certified by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture, and that he needed to obtain Serve Safe Certification. The SBDC also recommended that he attend a First Step Seminar, and he did so. In March 2010 Laughery informed the SBDC that the Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture had determined that his home's kitchen could not be certified, so he transferred manufacturing operations to a restaurant customer's certified kitchen. In July of 2010, the SBDC also discussed the importance of tracking business performance through the use of financial statements, and we discussed potential income and self employment tax liabilities with Laughery. At that time, Laughery chose not to pursue the completion of a business plan, and he initiated operations as a sole proprietorship.

In November 2011, following two seasons of significant growth, Laughery again contacted the SBDC. Sales volumes had exceeded his “guest privileges” based manufacturing capacity, and he requested financial assistance to install and equip a self contained salsa manufacturing unit on his property. He also wanted to convert the sole proprietorship to an LLC. In June 2012, the SBDC assisted Laughery with the completion of a Pennsylvania Dept. of State LLC Certificate of Organization; a manufacturing capacity and COG analysis, with the completion a business plan; and the development of a financial proposal, along with a referral to Bridgeway Capital (BWC). In order to complete the manufacturing project prior to the 2012 season, Laughery secured interim financing from a private source. BWC provided the requested SBA Micro Loan financing in August 2012. In March 2013 we discussed utilization of wholesale distribution “jobbers” with Laughery to support his market expansion initiatives. He has also implemented highly effective website and Facebook marketing practices. The business continues to grow, as Laughery has supplemented the two original direct sales channels with product placements in several retail outlets, including the Whole Foods Co-Operative.

This continuing relationship with Beezlebub Salsa, LLC personifies the meaning of the Pennsylvania SBDC’s tag line…"helping businesses start, grow, and prosper."

    • beelzebubs