Meet The Entrepreneur!
🚀FASTER WV Client: Connie Martin of Charleston WV’s We B Fryin Snacks
Connie Martin’s business success story began when she and her husband Rick travelled out of state and stumbled upon a tasty snack at a festival. The snack looked like and tasted like pork rinds ~ but were made entirely from wheat ~ and contained no pork! The Martins loved this snack and decided to try to make their own and bring these delicious snacks to the Mountain State.
After acquiring trade secrets and some training, Connie and Rick started perfecting their own recipes, by frying batch after batch of WheatOs in their Charleston, WV home kitchen. At the advice of a friend, Connie started working with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and the Small Business Development Center. After scrambling to quickly produce, package and sell their first snacks at the indoor WV Winter Blues Farmer’s Market, as well as to family and friends, their small cottage food business, We B Frying Snacks, was born!
Connie started receiving free FASTER WV business coaching with various coaches at the WV SBDC, including current FASTER WV business coach, Tyler Brandstetter, who has helped her with small and large matters along the way. Connie learned about ways to scale up their production from a FASTER WV Cottage Food Webinar. She enrolled in the free online 8-week FASTER WV basic business course, and signed on with Sari Kimbell, a Consumer Packaged Foods Industry expert out of Colorado, provided through FASTER WV. Connie has eagerly taken advantage of almost every opportunity for assistance through FASTER WV and has built a stronger business as a result!
Connie was surprised to learn that WV had very favorable cottage food laws, making it easy to start a small cottage food company in WV. In addition to having a great product idea, Connie credits the FASTER WV Program with some of her business success.
“I’m so appreciative of the various ways the FASTER WV Program supported me. The free online class really prepared me in so many ways to run a small business,” says Connie. “I learned about balancing the different skills needed to keep the business afloat, and there was a lot I didn’t know! The business course and business coaching really helped me figure out ways to be successful and sell more product.”
Connie and Rick, and occasionally their daughters when the orders roll in, are still frying, bagging, and labeling their tasty snacks in their home kitchen. Currently, four savory and one sweet flavor snacks are produced, packaged and sold in 16 store locations across WV. The family has realized that they may need to ramp up production to keep up with increasing demand. Connie daydreams of the many venues where she might sell her snacks in the future, including Shawnee Sports Complex and Town Center Mall. She is hoping the planned Charleston Food Manufacturing Hub shared kitchen rental space will enable her to do just that!
Give We B Fryin Snacks a try ~ we bet you can’t eat just one!
Connect to their website to place an order!
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