Every business has to start somewhere, so why not start a business in the U.P.? That’s exactly what Crazy Joe’s did.
Less than four months after hitting refrigerator sections at more than a dozen major grocery stores from Calumet to Marquette, the family-owned and operated company, based in L’Anse, expanded to 35 retail locations across the U.P. Owners Damien Waara and Katie Stanaway plan to grow into the eastern U.P., northern Wisconsin and even Minnesota.
All Crazy Joe’s products, which include their famous cucumber and tomato salsa varieties, chow chow and mushroom jalapeno dip, are made fresh by hand. Salsa production has more than doubled since the company expanded into Marquette, Iron River, Crystal Falls, Iron Mountain and Escanaba, averaging between 2,200 and 3,500 pounds per week.
Word of mouth, in addition to weekly in-store product demos and social media interactions, has helped propel Crazy Joe’s success.
“Facebook has helped us start a virtual storefront, in a sense, where we have direct communication with customers, reply to their questions and gain valuable feedback,” Katie says. “Social media is an opportunity for us to not only engage with customers and have a conversation, but to see what other small businesses are doing out there.”
The craze is about to get even bigger as Crazy Joe’s prepares to launch online ordering.
“Many of our customers drive out of their way to buy our products. Online ordering is a great way to bring Crazy Joe’s right to their front door,” Damien says. “Everything has been so well-received. We’re just trying to reach and grow into other markets.”
Once the online store rolls out, snack lovers will be able to purchase Crazy Joe’s from the comfort of their sofa at www.crazyjoessalsa.com. All products are shipped fresh anywhere in the United States.