// Photos by Adam Bacher
In 2006, Barhyte Specialty Foods won an award as grocery vendor of year for the Kroger chain. Chris and Suzie attended the event where they were honored, and the positive feedback they received there compelled them to make their largest investment — an overhaul of Suzie’s test kitchen and expansions of the production facility and warehouses. They followed up that initiative with marketing campaigns to solidify the brand around the family name and Suzie’s cooking, obtaining a trademark for the phrase “Make every meal extraordinary,” and launching a line of marinades, dressings and mustards under the label Saucy Mama. Their newest item, Suzie’s Yellow Mustard, came out in October.
The business didn’t suffer during the recession partly because Barhyte doesn’t sell to many restaurants, and didn’t get hurt when people shifted from dining out to dining at home to save money. The company is on track to improve on its 2010 sales figure. Barhyte says sales have increased every year since the company raked in $145,000 in 1995. He gets a kick out of the monthly pitch calls from the bank that used to turn them down for loans, and from the steady flow of offers to buy the company. He says he plans to continue ignoring those offers to sell.