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Featured Shop: Dell Cove Spice Co.

Jul 3, 2015

by Patricia Beets

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Hello! My name is Patricia Beets, and my husband David and I own Dell Cove Spice Co. We make popcorn seasonings, BBQ rubs and cocktail garnishes. We are about to open our own commercial kitchen and retail space in the Chicago, a town known for beautiful architecture and great storytellers, and the place we now call home.

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Our family business started because of the recession and the collapse of the newspaper industry. In early 2010, I was the Midwest Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times (I write under the byline P.J. Huffstutter). When the Times’ parent company filed for bankruptcy, my editors moved my job from Chicago to Los Angeles. David, a CAD designer for an engineering firm, and I were newly married, and assumed he would be able to find work easily in LA. We were wrong.

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As time passed, we started to cook together – several time zones away from one another – and talk on the phone or over Skype. A jam-making friend with an Etsy shop suggested we open a storefront to sell some of the cooking spices and blends we made, to help pay for my flights back to the Midwest. In the fall of 2010, we opened our Etsy shop and named our business after the street where we last shared a home – Dell Cove. Today, David runs our growing family business full time. I work with him, as well as work full time as an agricultural reporter for Reuters News.

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Stories inspire us. So does the fundamental human need to connect and create memories through food. My paternal family has been farming in Iowa since the end of the American Civil War, and my maternal family — as well as David’s family — is filled with amazing cooks. Their stories have been savored and passed down, whether while we’re cooking in the kitchen or laughing over meals. So David and I feel strongly that our products should be fun, tasty and allow our customers to create new stories they too can share with their friends and loved ones.

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Running your own business — particularly a food business — is fraught with challenges. In a way, developing our Etsy shop has been a bit of a learn-on-the-job MBA program: figure out how to better manage our supply-chain (that sinking 3 a.m. realization that we’re out of organic Parmesan powder, and that we bought way too much basil); forecasting production trends (note to self: make enough organic vanilla sugar this Christmas); figure out how to budget, fund and roll out new product lines (such as our organic teas and tea infusers featured in the Fund on Etsy pilot program). But it’s the customers we’ve worked with on Etsy – and the stories they have shared with us – that we’ve come to value the most. We could never have built this business without Etsy and the support of so many small business owners we’ve met here and learned from, including my dear friends Dorene of The Columbia Fragrance Co., Katie of Kater’s Acres and our product photographer, Selena Vallejo.

Follow Dell Cove Spices on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+.

Header photo by Crystal Gayle Photo. Maker photo by Ethel Baker, all other photographs by Selena Vallejo.

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