Make us your home page
Instagram
Local Business| Christina K. Cosdon

Pepper jelly firm remains red hot

Eileen O'Hara said she created her Largo-based business specializing in hot pepper jelly and other flavors out of desperation.

"I had just finished my master's in English," said O'Hara, 61. "It was the middle of the month, December 2002, and I hadn't done any holiday shopping for my family. My husband is a pepper head. He loves hot spicy food, so I made 12 jars of hot pepper jelly for his Christmas present. He shared it with some of his friends and the next thing I knew, they were bringing me habanero peppers to make more."

She was teaching research writing at Eckerd College at the time and expected to make it her career.

But creating new flavors of jellies and growing the family business took over her life. She is now president of her company, Brimstone Originals, and still teaches occasionally.

O'Hara grew up on a small garden farm in Oneida, N.Y., and learned cooking and canning as a youngster beside her mother.

Today, her company's five flavors — hot pepper, cranberry pepper, medium pepper, pineapple pepper and burgundy wine — are in demand worldwide. In 2006 and 2007, the business was a finalist in the Gallo Family Gold Medal Awards and was a recipient last year of the Pinellas County Emerging Entrepreneur Award.

Who runs the company?

My daughter, Julie Stevens, is vice president and handles our bookkeeping, invoicing, registering for trade shows and events, attending and working the shows. I'm pretty much research and development. I'm the one who likes to play with flavors and ingredients. My family and a couple of friends who like to cook do the taste testing. They all decide when a new product needs a little of this or a little of that.

Are there plans to introduce new products?

I am planning to come out with more flavors, I'm working on a new wine flavor now. We're also working on a new line of culinary gifts and products called Gala Gourmet. Products like the burgundy wine jelly and other flavors that don't have pepper in them will fit into that label. We see so many possibilities that would work with our products when we do trade shows. It's hard not to think progressively.

Where are the products sold?

They are sold only in specialty stores. In Pinellas County, the products are available at Erika's Place in Dunedin; Incredible Edibles and Janie Beane Florist, both in Clearwater; Harr's Surf and Turf in Palm Harbor; Uncorked Fine Wines & Accessories, Tastings, Mazzaro Italian Market, Z Kitchen and Peppers on the Pier, all in St. Petersburg; Gourmet Shop on 8th in Pass-a-Grille; and Changes In in St. Pete Beach. Products and recipes are available on the company's Web site.

To contact Brimstone Originals, call (727) 538-9195 or visit www.brimstoneoriginals.com .

News of businesses and business people can be faxed to the Business Digest at 445-4119, e-mailed to cosdon@sptimes.com or mailed to Business Digest, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. We are interested in new and unusual businesses, promotions, expansions, commercial sales and major new contracts. Photos can be mailed or e-mailed by jpeg file.

Pepper jelly firm remains red hot 03/27/08 [Last modified: Thursday, March 27, 2008 9:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Estuary wins pier design contest for the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway extension

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — And the winner is… Estuary.

    Voters overwhelmingly supported a pier design called Estuary for the $200-million extension of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway in Tampa.
[Courtesy of AECOM]
  2. Amazon receives 238 proposals from places eager to become its 2nd headquarters

    Business

    NEW YORK — Amazon said Monday that it received 238 proposals from cities and regions in the United States, Canada and Mexico hoping to be the home of the company's second headquarters.

    Earlier this month, an Amazon employee gives her dog a biscuit as the pair head into a company building, where dogs are welcome, in Seattle. Amazon says it received 238 proposals from cities and regions hoping to be the home of the company's second headquarters. 
[AP Photo/Elaine Thompson]
  3. Target says customers want it to pause the Christmas creep

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Target says customers want it to pause the "Christmas creep." It says it wants to be more in tune with customers' mindset, so it plans to ease in holiday promotions this year while better recognizing Thanksgiving.

     Target says customers want it to pause the "Christmas creep." It says it wants to be more in tune with customers' mindset, so it plans to ease in holiday promotions this year while better recognizing Thanksgiving. This is Target's new store in Manhattan's Herald Square that opened last week. 
[Kavita Kumar/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS]
  4. Tampa's Walter Investment Management restructuring, could file for bankruptcy

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Tampa-based Walter Investment Management Corp. is restructuring to cut down some of the mortgage firm's $700 million debt, Walter announced Friday night. The firm, according to its investor relations page, focuses on subprime and "other credit-challenged" mortgages.

    Walter Investment Management is restructuring to reduce its $700 million debt, the company announced late Friday. Pictured is Anthony Renzi. CEO. | [Courtesy of LinkedIn]
  5. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients

    Business

    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.