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Spinelli's Sauce Co. cooks up King Soopers deal

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

BURL ROLETT, www.businessden.com 

Spinelli's Sauce Co., known for its pasta sauce, recently expanded into salad dressings. Photos by Burl Rolett.

Spinelli’s Sauce Co., known for its pasta sauce, recently expanded into salad dressings. Photos by Burl Rolett.

 
A local spaghetti sauce maker is pushing into the supermarket refrigerator section.

Spinelli’s Sauce Co., which sells pasta sauces in about 300 western grocery stores, is working a deal to put a line of salad dressings in 145 Rocky Mountain King Soopers and City Markets. It’s a big step up from the 15 or so specialty grocery stores where Spinelli’s dressings are currently for sale.

“We have a pretty proven growth pattern with the sauces, so you would think to just put money toward continuing to grow those,” Spinelli’s owner Chris Rogers said. “But Kroger asked us about the dressings – I guess they saw them in Whole Foods – and approached us. And I thought, why aren’t we pushing our dressings as well?”

Chris Rogers makes a pitch to potential investors.

Chris Rogers makes a pitch to potential investors.

Rogers said she hopes to have the dressings in King Soopers fridges by the end of the summer, about eight years after her sauce company first launched out of Spinelli’s Market in Park Hill. Rogers worked as a chef at Spinelli’s Market when it began bottling pasta sauces in 2007. She is now the majority owner of Spinelli’s Sauce Co., but does not own the market itself.

Spinelli’s began bottling three salad dressings a year ago, Rogers said. Since then, she’s put the brand’s Caesar, gorgonzola and balsamic flavors in 11 Whole Foods and two Marcyzk’s Fine Foods locations.

As Spinelli’s ramps up its dressing business to about 160 total stores, Rogers is looking for outside investment to help fuel the company’s growth. She recently pitched to 30 potential investors at a Denver Metro Small Business Development Center event, Trout Tank, looking for $150,000 in exchange for a stake in the company.

The sauce company got started at Spinelli's Market at 4621 E. 23rd Ave.

The sauce company got started at Spinelli’s Market at 4621 E. 23rd Ave.

It’s cash she plans to use for in-store demonstrations, product development and working capital.

“At this point, it’s just been me running the company, and I have some contract labor I hire for demos and things like that,” Rogers said. “So I’m kind of at capacity trying to maintain the everyday operations being in the stores we’re in.”

Spinelli’s Sauce Co. currently makes the dressings itself at a commercial kitchen.

A Littleton-based co-packer makes the pasta sauce, and Rogers said she’ll need to find a similar outfit to churn out enough dressings to stock 145 King Soopers stores.

Stocking stores with dressings is tougher than keeping pasta sauce on the shelves, Rogers said. Spinelli’s is still handling deliveries to stores itself. And because the dressings have to stay refrigerated, Rogers can’t expand to stores too far from the Denver area.

With the King Soopers deal, Spinelli’s will drop off its dressings at a distribution center, and the grocer will take them from there.

King Soopers currently sells Spinelli's sauce for about $6 or $7.

King Soopers currently sells Spinelli’s sauce for about $6 or $7.

Rogers estimated Spinelli’s would sell about 132,000 bottles of sauces and dressings in 2015. The company did about $335,000 in total revenue last year, Rogers said at last week’s SBDC pitch.

The company makes about 20 percent profit margins on dressings, she said, compared to about 15 percent on pasta sauces.

Right now the pasta sauce line includes Spinelli’s Classic Marinara, Creamy Tomato Vodka, Roasted Garlic Fra Diavolo and Puttanesca di Napoli sauces. Spinelli’s sauces are in more than 300 stores stretching from Wyoming to Texas and Kansas to Nevada.

In the coming years, Rogers said she hopes to double sales at the stores she stocks currently, open in new regions and begin selling the sauces and dressings to restaurants. A chef by trade, Rogers is also working on getting new recipes to market.

“I have a great alfredo and a really great pizza sauce and some new flavors of dressing,” Rogers said. “Again, I need to sort of be able to put my energy there to get those products out.”

Burl Rolett is a BusinessDen reporter who covers commercial real estate and the business of sports. He is a graduate of Washington and Lee University. Email him at burl@BusinessDen.com.

Original article from Business Den: www.businessden.com/2015/06/17/sauce-company-cooks-up-king-soopers-deal/ 

Introducing Pulse, Powered by BodeTree

Sunday, September 14, 2014


BodeTree, an online service that helps small business owners better understand their finances, has partnered with the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to provide an online platform specifically built for greater small business success. The platform, named “Pulse,” is built to further grow and support consulting and development efforts already in place with the Small Business Development Center to ensure that Colorado continues to remain a top state for small business growth. With the platform coming online, more than 16,000 Colorado small businesses can now utilize Pulse to help drive greater business success.

“The creation of Pulse is allowing us to continue down the path of enhanced technology offerings for small business owners. This tool is meant for the busy entrepreneur who doesn’t have time to sit down every week with one of our consultants, but does have intentions on making decisions based on fact, not on hope,” said Abram Sloss, executive director for the Denver Metro SBDC. “There are SBDCs across the country offering services to small businesses today. We feel with Pulse we’re at the forefront of technology and bringing a truly innovative approach to providing greater services and capabilities to Colorado small businesses.”

“The launch of the Pulse platform in Colorado really builds upon our mission at BodeTree to empower small business owners with a big picture understanding of their financials and help them make the right decisions for growth and success,” said JT Archer, chief operating officer at BodeTree. “We’re big believers that coupling the capabilities of the SBDC with a platform built for success will ensure Colorado remains at the top of the nation for small business growth and success.”

“RTL Networks has found that Pulse is an excellent tool for our company, but we never would have found it, were it not for the Denver Metro SBDC,” said CEO Richard Lewis. “We at RTL appreciate the assistance the SBDC provides to so many small businesses and the connections to wonderful technology applications like Pulse.”

To learn more about Pulse, visit www.coloradosbdc.bybodetree.com


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