Another year, another anniversary! We’re celebrating our second full year as your favorite salsa company. We’re feeling inspired, energized, and above all – grateful. But what does it take to become the most interesting salsa company on the market? Hear from the man, the myth, and the founder himself … Bernie Dahlin!
Take us back to the beginning; for those who aren't familiar, what made you decide to turn "too many tomatoes" into a full-fledged company?
I initially started making salsa for my coworkers. It was a quick way to socialize for five minutes over chips and salsa – two things I love. I started writing down the recipes; my hope was to make the best salsa for the winter months ahead. At this point it was definitely a hobby, but then I decided to try and sell it. That first year at the farmer’s market, demand and momentum continued to grow. It was then when I thought that I may be onto something good. I decided to quit my job in late October 2016 and give this a try, full-time.
Your flavors are a welcome change in the salsa market. How do you go about developing a new salsa or hot sauce?
There’s no one good answer to this. Sometimes I feel like the industry deserves something better; sometimes it’s my creative outlet to try new and different, fun ingredients; and sometimes it’s all about what I want.
What are you most grateful for?
First of all I wanna think my fans; without you, I wouldn’t be here! In all honesty, I’m grateful for many things. I’m grateful for all the people who have helped me run errands or cook in the kitchen; I’m grateful for my mom teaching me how to cook. I’m extremely grateful for the people whose support of me early on allowed this small business to flourish. And lastly I’m grateful for all of the local media personalities who believed in us and helped get the word out about Double Take Salsa.
What has been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge has probably been logistics on how to scale appropriately. But learning a completely new business in a completely new industry has been extremely challenging, too.
What has surprised you the most about owning your own business?
Honestly? I guess it would be all of the people who are buying my products that I don’t know. When you first start out, it’s always your friends and acquaintances who are buying your stuff but now we’re at the point where the word has really gotten out.
You're a small business – in your opinion, why should people shop small and/or local?
I’ve found that some of the hardest workers are small business owners. The best thing about pumping money into supporting local businesses is that all of the money stays in that market. So when I make money, I spend money in this market. In turn, that also increases jobs and cash flow for everyone who lives here. When I first quit my job I was in 17 stores – that number has grown to almost 200!
You took a leap of faith to start Double Take Salsa – what advice would you give to someone looking to take a similar leap?
I’m a huge advocate of trying your own thing. I encourage everybody to do so if they feel like they have a passion for something that they’re really good at. That being said, it’s really important to understand that you may need to grow slowly – which also means that you may not be paying yourself for a long time.
Looking ahead, what's next for Double Take Salsa?
We are really excited about expanding to new markets, but we’re also working on bringing greater brand awareness at home in the Twin Cities market. There are still some people out there who have never heard of us, so continue sharing it with friends! Give Double Take Salsa as a hostess gift or as a present for teachers; give it to your family. Keep spreading the word – because there’s a lot of growth and opportunity still out there in this market.