When Davey Woolridge attended an entrepreneur summer camp for young adults with disabilities four years ago, never in his wildest dreams did he think he’d leave with the basis for a salsa business that has now made its way into more than 25+ stores.
Woolridge’s business, Davey’s Treasures, was inspired by his family recipes.
“The woman in charge [at the camp] told us to come up with a service that we could share with others, and I have always loved my grandma’s cooking. She is a great cook and has a ton of recipes,” Woolridge says. “Everyone in my family loves her cooking. Actually, even people who aren’t in my family love her cooking.”
But there was one family recipe that stood out most to him: her salsa.
He whipped up the tomato-based recipe with onions, bell peppers, garlic, Louisiana seasonings and a texture that was the perfect medium between not too thin, not too thick and not chunky.
Woolridge has high-functioning autism, but the joy that he felt making and sharing the salsa that day was motivation to overcome many hurdles related to his disability.
He created Davey’s Treasures, a salsa company he now runs with the help of his family.
His salsa comes in two varieties: hot and regular (mild to medium).
For the past three years, Woolridge has sold the salsa at markets and events around town. About a year ago, after he began preparing it in the LSU AgCenter Food Incubator, the business really took off. Since then, Davey’s Treasures has produced more than five tons of salsa.
Today, the brand is found throughout Louisiana, including the Baton Rouge and Shreveport locations of Whole Foods and Rouses. But don’t be surprised if you see Woolridge there, too.
“I love to go to the stores and sample my salsa. I just really enjoy getting to meet people and seeing the joy my salsa brings them,” the 29-year-old says. “That’s fun for me.”
In his own words
“When I saw my salsa in the store for the first time, it was like waking up from a dream. At first, I couldn’t believe it was true. I was thinking, ‘Man, this can’t be my product.’ It has just been amazing to see how far I have come from making my salsa inside of my kitchen and selling it at events around town.
Davey’s Treasures is a family affair. Everyone helps out. We make and distribute it all ourselves.
I have high hopes for our business. I really believe we can go from our 25 stores now to selling it all over the nation. I just think we’re doing great things and making a lot of people happy.”
This article was originally published in the September 2017 issue of 225 Magazine.