Local friends start black bean hummus business in Summit County
Summit Daily News
It was a food allergy to citric acid that made Summit County resident Kerry Truscelli think outside the box when it came to hummus. There weren’t any brands made without it available commercially, so she started experimenting at home for her family and friends.
“I started with chickpeas originally, but to be creative I went with the black beans. Once I added the jalapeno and the cilantro it was a done deal,” she said. “When I said ‘I’m thinking about doing this for a business,’ they said go for it.”
Truscelli recently partnered with her friend Patty Lehman to start a black bean hummus business, which they named Bella’s Black Beans, after Truscelli’s cat. The idea came about in February, and the friends just started selling their products about two weeks ago. Right now, Bella’s features three flavors – original, roasted garlic and jalapeno cilantro – available at Alpine Market in Frisco, The Local Market in Breckenridge, Peak Provisions in Silverthorne, Dillon’s Farmers Market and several local restaurants like Peppino’s Pizza and Subs and The Island Grill in Frisco. Truscelli said the goal is take on two new accounts weekly, with the hope to soon be in Natural Grocers, Whole Foods and Sunflower Market. Eventually they’d like to go national.
Building the business up took a little bit longer than expected, Truscelli said, but that was mostly due to shelf-life testing. The rest was pretty easy.
“For whatever reason, I had the label and logo already pictured in my head. Fortunately, my roommate is a graphic artist, and he has been amazing. Everything else has just been Google,” she said. “Neither one of us has ever owned our own business, so we’re just feeling our way through it.”
The women work out of Peppino’s kitchen in the early morning, before the kitchen staff comes in. She said owner Dan Fallon has been extremely generous and helpful to them.
“Making the product is very easy,” she said. “It’s just a cuisinart, some simple ingredients and a little bit of time.”
And so far, the reception to their product has been great. Right now, they’re making about 120 containers a week. Alpine Market sold out of their products in just two days.
“It’s really been moving very quickly, and it’s just word-of-mouth so far,” Truscelli said. “Hummus is one of the fastest growing food businesses. A few years ago, no one had heard about it.”
For more information, go to http://www.bellasblackbeans.com
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