When friends and colleagues Jenny Fulton and Ashlee Furr lost their financial sector jobs, they decided to start a novel business making modern day pickles with an old-fashioned taste. With a shoestring budget and a life-long love for making and eating pickles, they received formal training at the NCSU NC Cooperative Extension’s Acidified Foods Processing and Packaging Better Process School, often called “the pickle school”.
The duo have grown Miss Jenny’s Pickles into a pickle empire with four delicious pickle flavors – Signature Salt & Pepper, Jalapeno Salt & Pepper, Traditional Bread & Butter, and Habanero Bread & Butter. What started in the home is now on the shelves of over 1,000 stores in the United States and also exported to China. However, they always like to give credit to those who helped them along the way including the SBTDC who helped Jenny, the marketer, get in touch with the right people at the right times.
SBTDC International Business Development (IBD) Counselor Owen George and Business Counselor Victor Dau initially met with founder Jenny Fulton in 2011 at an Export-Import Bank of the United States (EX-IM) event in Charlotte, NC. They had read some of the press coverage about Miss Jenny’s Pickles, and wanted to learn more about the business and offer the SBTDC’s support.
Soon they were meeting to discuss business issues, marketing, and exporting. Owen assisted them with key issues regarding company ownership structure as well as the development of an export strategy. He also helped facilitate the company’s first export sale to China by reviewing financials and helping Jenny prep for meetings and presentations. Owen introduced her to the EX-IM Bank products and services, and helped Jenny get an opportunity to personally introduce her pickles to EX-IM Bank’s chairman.
After Owen was contacted by a CBS 60 Minutes producer seeking a Triad export business for a show, he contacted Jenny. After receiving her permission, Owen submitted a company profile and Miss Jenny’s Pickles was selected. On October 28, 2012, the show aired nationally to a potential audience of 22 million households. That exposure has resulted in increased sales and more opportunities, including a contract for a reality show and the honor of introducing Vice President Joe Biden at EX-IM Bank’s 2013 Conference.
Today, domestic and international markets are growing exponentially for Miss Jenny’s Pickles. The business has grown from 100 stores to over 1,000 stores in two years. International sales are expected to grow from 5 percent to 20 percent by the end of the year. 2013 projections show sales will reach $500,000, which will be over a 1,200% increase since their very first sale, largely due to the SBTDC-facilitated exposure on CBS 60 Minutes.
As featured in the 2012-13 SBTDC Annual Report
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