Jan 31, 2012, noon
By Melanie Wiseman
Is opportunity knocking at your door and you think it’s too late? Meet local entrepreneurs Dave Booher and Sonja Kent, who took opportunities and ran with them. Both have succeeded because of their creativity and their passion for their products.
Dave Booher, 75, believes “you’re never too old to start your own business.” Booher, whose career was working in a dental lab, is a good example of this. He took over a bankrupt natural jalapeño salt company in 2005 and changed the name to Dave’s All Natural Jalapeño Salt. He now ships to all 50 states, plus Canada and England. His salts can also be found in restaurants, retail and gift basket businesses. Expanding his sales to include many more locations is at the forefront of his future plans.
The company is basically a one-man operation. Booher spends an average of three hours a day to mix, bottle, label, package and ship orders. What makes Dave’s All Natural Jalapeño Salt so unique? His flavorful salt seasonings are all natural with no fillers or additives. They only have two ingredients: Real Salt, a pollutant-free salt extracted from an ancient seabed in Utah, and peppers from Texas, but near the Mexico border. The jalapeño pepper is delivered fresh from the field, dehydrated, ground and blended with the all-natural salt. Booher boasts that his salt “makes a good food better.”
Not sure your taste buds can stand the heat? The eight varieties of Dave’s All Natural Jalapeño Salt offer something for everyone. They include a wide range on the pepper scale, from Mild Jalapeño and Garlic Jalapeño to smoking Orange Habanero.
“They’re only as hot as how much you put on,” Booher said.
The different flavors are perfect on salads, fish, eggs, vegetables, roasts, casseroles, baked potatoes, hamburgers, soups, dips, popcorn and more.
Booher is a member of “Colorado Proud,” products manufactured in Colorado. You can sample Dave’s All Natural Jalapeño Salt at local events and festivals or go online to www.DavesJalapenoSalt.com. Prices start as low as $7 and are available individually or in three-packs. Orders can be placed online or by calling 256-SALT (7258).
What started as a hobby four years ago for Western Slope native Sonja Kent, 57, has grown into a booming business.
“I never imagined it would be so successful,” Kent said.
The idea for her business, Sonja’s Snuggables, sprang from her friend’s large animal throw pillow business called Carmen’s Comfort Critters. Kent downsized the patterns and altered them to be more “friendly,” personal and cuddly. Kent revealed her best marketing tool when she handed me a soft fleece dog.
“Here, try it,” she said. “Just hug it.”
Once you hug one of her 25 different stuffed animals, you’re hooked.
Kent first took her cuddly friends to craft shows and repeatedly sold out. Her line expanded as people asked if she made other animals not on display. Instead of saying no, she went to the drawing board and created whatever people were looking for. She uses photographs of real animals to help her design a pattern, then selects colorful combinations of fleece to give them personality.