Market Success Stories: Ohio City Pasta

Ohio City Pasta is a mainstay in the burgeoning Cleveland food scene, known for its handmade pastas and artisanal sauces, which are all- natural and made with care. What started as their mainstay booth at West Side market has now expanded to over 5 states and countless other farmers’ markets.

Ohio City Pasta was founded in 1990 by Gary Thomas, who just wanted to help other businesses who didn’t have the time, experience, or machinery to create their own fresh pasta. What they lacked, Gary had. He started producing pasta for local businesses, and eventually started selling at the unequalled West Side Market in Cleveland Ohio.

Ohio City Pasta is known for more than just pasta. They have an extensive array of fresh ravioli, all natural sauces, pesto, flavored butters, and more. They’ve sourced the finest flours and freshest spices available to produce some of the best Italian classics around. Gnocchi and tortellini are also popular items.

More than 20 years later, Ohio City Pasta has exploded. While still showing up week after week at West Side Market, they’ve amassed quite a fan base that could not be contained to a single shop. Top chefs have sung their praise and caused their audience to grow. You can now find OCP in grocery stores in Northeast Ohio, as well as a huge array of farmers’ markets.

They’ve listened to chefs and customers throughout the years on which farmers’ markets to exhibit their goods, and are currently visiting 21 different seasonal markets. Even some of your favorite restaurants may be serving Ohio City Pasta through their new distribution center.

Ohio City Pasta is another success story that started locally through farmers’ markets and small shops to make it big. Though unlike others, they have not forgotten their roots and continue to sell at markets across Ohio, as they expand even further.

Check out our other Market Success Stories like Utz and Pipcorn.

Market Success Stories: Utz

Did you know that Utz is the largest privately owned snack company in America? Yes, the company selling cheese balls by the barrel is held in independent hands, and is determined to stay that way. Utz is a classic, all-American success story that continues to this day. And it all started in a small home, in Hannover, Pennsylvania.

Utz started in 1921 as the “Hanover Home Brand Potato Chips” with nothing more than a $300 investment and some hard work. Each batch of potatoes chips was cooked by hand by Salie Utz. Salie could only produce about 50 pounds of chips per hour, using hand operated equipment. Her husband William would then take those chips, and sell them locally at farmers markets and “mom and pop shops” in the Hanover/Baltimore area.

Utz girl next to the company name.

Word of mouth helped them expand, and just a few years later in 1930, they built the first section of the first Utz plant, an extension on the rear of their home. By 1938, a new plant was built on the very same spot with professional equipment, churning out 300 lbs per hour of their widely popular chips.

1948 held a post-war boom that allowed them to build a new production facility, on 10 acres of land. They never looked back and have been growing ever since. To this day, it is still a privately owned company, currently in the hands of Michael Rice, the grandson of Salie and William Utz.

Utz is popular nationwide, and manufactures1,000,000 lbs of chips and 900,000 lbs of pretzels, each and every week.  It employs over 2,500 people across the country. Even renown businessman Warren Buffet is a fan, but unlike See’s Candies and Dairy Queen, Utz is assuredly not for sale.

Utz is another great example of how hard work and perseverance can pay off. $300 dollars, a home kitchen, and local markets took this couple from obscurity, to the founders of a multi-million dollar operation.

Check out past market success stories! Like Pipcorn and Vegetabowls!

BoothBooks creates best-in-class market management software. Easily handleing payments, vendor registration, layouts, reporting, and more. To find out more visit our website, or check us out on social media.

Market Success Stories: Vegetabowls

In past Market Success Stories, we’ve looked at well known figures like Pipcorn which reached national fame on Shark Tank. This time we will look a less well known artist, Melanie Mckenney. The creator of Vegetabowls.

Vegetabowls are gorgeous handmade bowls and plates that resemble fruits and veggies. What is now a full time business for her and her husband, started with simple trips to the farmers market.

She got the idea originally while teaching pottery in Boston when she used a cantaloupe to demo plaster mold making and slip casting. She then glazed it like a cantaloupe and when her husband saw it, he told her she should sell them, and call it Vegetabowls!

She soon sought out the best place to discover new fruits and vegetables to cast and found that location at the farmers market. In an interview with Etsy, Melanie described visiting the market. “It’s my favorite place to be inspired and get my creative gears going.” She goes on to talk about meeting all the local producers. “Being able to connect with the person who made a fruit or vegetable, and then taking it home and making something new from it—it just extends the creative process.”

Eventually, the market would also become where she would start selling her handmade creations – and the response was phenomenal. The support and customers from the market would allow her to start working on Vegetabowls full time, and eventually, her husband left grad school to put his time and effort into the business as well.

Now located in Buffalo, New York, Justin and Melanie operate a 2,000 square foot facility. Half of which is used for production and order fulfillment of their online store, the other half acting as a storefront for locals to come and create their own pottery.

In case you were wondering, the best selling piece, it’s a tie. Between the cantaloupe and watermelon. You can learn more about Vegetabowls and their business over at their online storefront.

Be sure to keep coming back for more market success stories, and if you have one of your own, be sure to share it below in the comments.

BoothBooks creates best-in-class market management software. Easily handleing payments, vendor registration, layouts, reporting, and more. To find out more visit our website, or check us out on social media.

Market Success Stories: Pipcorn

Pipcorn, a name made popular from its appearance on the TV show Shark Tank, has taken the healthy food market by storm. Using a special husk-less piece of corn, when popped it makes a smaller, tasty version of popcorn. But did you know, this grocery store juggernaught started from a simple New York outdoor food market?

Welcome to Market Success Stories. An individual look at a successful company or entrepreneur that started from a simple market and made it big. 

Pipcorn market stand
Source: http://bit.ly/2pPsDRO

Pipcorn was started from the brother and sister team of Jen and Jeff Martin. A farmer gave Jen some special corn that he grew, and she asked Jeff to try and make popcorn out of it. He did and they tasted a great new type of popcorn that has a special super thin hull that won’t get stuck in your teeth, and is about half the size of regular popcorn pieces.

Soon after they started packaging and selling the first product of Pipsnacks, Pipcorn at a local outdoor food market in New York. This was a great place to get exposure for their produce and have many new people try it. Turns out that was a great choice and helped them get to where they are today.

Not long after launching, they appear on Shark Tank, seeking $200,000 for 20%. Barbara and Robert both gave them offers, but her close proximity to their office and her experience with food helped seal the deal as their ideal partner.

Since their early days appearing in farmers markets, they’ve been named one of Oprah’s favorite things twice, revisited on Shark Tank, gotten into numerous brick and mortar stores, as well as selling strongly online.

In fact, by embracing technology, they have been able to increase their operations nationally, and hugely increased their online sales both on their website, as well as Amazon.

Pipcorn is just another example of a company that got their start from a simple farmers or flea market. What started with some random corn kernels, took 2 years to be the Pipcorn people now know and love.