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Another Making It In Michigan Success Story: Olympus Salsa
Dan Pillera grew up in an Italian household and learned to cook at an early age with his family who is passionate about delicious foods. Salsa is something that the Pillera family loves to eat, and Dan first started experimenting with various recipes from a neighbor’s tomatoes. Being health conscious eaters that prefer foods low in sodium, have no added or low sugar and are free of preservatives, the Pilleras found they couldn’t find salsa on the market that met those requirements. Living in Grand Blanc Township on an acre of land, they began their own garden and started expanding their salsa offerings they would give to friends and family.
After a turbulent few years starting with the recession in 2008, Dan found himself laid off again in 2014 at a milestone birthday. Knowing that their friends and family had always urged them to make salsa to sell, Dan’s wife Stacy suggested they start their own company. Stacy quit her job in sales, they cashed in their 401K and never looked back.
The MSU Product Center was instrumental in providing the Pilleras the necessary information to help launch their now successful business. Olympus Fare salsas are produced in their commercial kitchen in Holly. All of the salsas are all natural, free of preservatives, with no added sugars, and have 30 - 80mg sea salt per serving. They have four fresh salsas that are "inspired by the gods and enjoyed by the mortals".
The collective product line has won nine national awards in the past two years:
- Aphrodite, the goddess of love, is their mild fresh salsa.
- 2016 Golden Chili 1st place winner at Zest Fest Texas
- 2016 3rd place winner at Scovie Awards New Mexico
- 2015 3rd place winner at Zest Fest Texas
- Zeus, the god of the sky, is their medium fresh salsa.
- 2016 3rd place winner at Zest Fest Texas
- 2015 2nd place winner at Zest Fest
- Athena, the goddess of war and wisdom, is their fresh fire-roasted tomatillo salsa.
- 2016 Golden Chili 1st place winner at Scovie Awards New Mexico, and best fresh salsa overall at Zest Fest Texas
- 2016 3rd place winner at The Hot Pepper Awards New York
- 2015 2nd place winner at Scovie Awards New Mexico
- Hades, the god of the underworld, is their hot fresh salsa.
- 2016 1st place winner at Scovie Awards New Mexico
Olympus Fare salsas are sold in the deli section in 40 Michigan retail locations including Busch's Fresh Food Markets, select Kroger’s, Hollywood Markets, and more. The Pillera’s goal is to provide healthy food options and continue to grow the Olympus brand.
“The MSU Product Center has continued to be a supportive team as we grow our business,” states Stacy Pillera. “We had the opportunity to be a vendor at the Making It In Michigan trade show in 2015 and gained 3 new stores from that event. It has been an extremely positive experience and we are grateful for the MSU Product Center’s continued help and support.”