Family salsa business shifts model into retail – SiouxFalls.Business

April 7, 2023
A salsa business built on a family recipe has expanded into multiple retailers, including Hy-Vee.
Mama Troll Salsa began selling last year at craft shows and markets. Now, the business has moved from its home kitchen into a commercial space to keep up with a growing number of stores that are carrying the salsa.
Owners Trey Bren and his mother, AJ, now are selling only in retail stores, with locations in six towns in the Sioux Falls area.
“Early on, operating via the cottage food law allowed us to test our hypothesis and look for market validation,” Bren said. “We realized that to scale and build the size of brand that we envision, we have to meet customers where they are, which is in brick-and-mortar retail.”

In the city of Sioux Falls, Mama Troll Salsa is sold at Chef Ellen, Hy-Vee at 26th Street and Marion Road, and The Fruit Truck Market. Hy-Vee’s Dollar Fresh stores in Tea and Harrisburg carry it, too, as do specialty stores in other communities. For a full list, click here.
“We will continue to add additional locations as demand increases,” Bren said. “Looking into the future, our goal is to self-produce and sell on a much larger scale.”
That will mean sourcing resources locally, such as ingredients, finding a larger manufacturing space or equipment and adding a merchandising team, he said.
While the family has been experimenting in the kitchen, no new products have been added yet.

“Our original variety has been a family recipe perfected over the course of 25 years, so the bar has been set high, and we want to make sure that the following varieties launched can live up to the same standards,” Bren said. “Furthermore, we plan to keep things simple by not overwhelming our customers with too many options, but with all that said, we hope to share something new soon.”
For now, it’s still solely a family business. His dad, Todd, and niece, Autumn, have “been an enormous help,” as has chef Ellen Doerr’s kitchen.
“If it wasn’t for her opening up her space to us, we would not be where we are today,” Bren said.
This season, the business plans to participate in at least one more marketplace event monthly and will offer samples periodically in stores that carry the salsa.
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A salsa business built on a family recipe has expanded into multiple retailers, including Hy-Vee.
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