Founders, Lori and Benny Krieger
Before discovering her talent for creating unique flavors in her kitchen, Lori Krieger worked in marketing and business development for corporate law firms in Washington DC. When she and her husband, Benny, traveled back to their small town in Castroville, Texas, they enjoyed their annual tradition of making fig chutney using figs from their back yard which produced abundantly every year. They both enjoyed making the fig chutney so much that it became more than just a hobby. This pushed them to take a leap of faith by quitting her jobs and starting their own business. The Kriegers created Taste Elevated – a specialty food manufacturer that produces premium cooking sauces, condiments and spreads.
After a year in business, they wanted to start manufacturing their own products. They contacted the UTSA SBDC for assistance. With the help of the SBDC, the Kriegers completed their business plan and financial model, conducted market research and feasibility studies, and developed a loan package. Business advisors, Ben Garza and Crystal Darby helped connect them with People Fund, who approved a loan to renovate a building that would house their manufacturing center and their very own specialty food store. Lori’s hope in this venture was to bring a unique store where people can find specialty foods and gifts.
Today, Taste Elevated products are sold on the shelves of all Central Markets, 40+ Whole Foods in the Southwest Region of Texas. Their mustard seeds recently went National at Whole Foods. The Kriegers want to inspire people into their own kitchens to create their own masterpieces. They have launched a farmer’s market in Castroville to showcase local producers, farmers and home gardeners. The Kriegers plan on expanding manufacturing on all sides: retail, service and corporate gifting. Their store inventory would expand to eventually carry wine and become a destination type of store where people come for an experience.
“I am confident that we would not have made it to this point without the guidance, assistance and encouragement of UTSA Small Business Development Center in the early stages of our company. But, it didn’t stop there; our advisors have continued to stand by us every step of the way. Whether it be sourcing new funding, assistance with human resources or connecting us with resources for help with tax and accounting questions; UTSA SBDC has been with us each step of the way.”