Lisa Galassi Interview
Galassi foods was started back in 2009 and there’s been no looking back!
Their bottled pasta sauces have won rave reviews from everyone who’s tried them.
What’s behind their success? We’ll let Lisa Galassi explained.
Q - Lisa, before you were bottling your pasta sauces, you had something called “soul food Sunday”. What was that all about?
A - That was a Sunday that my brother and I would plan for all week long, a menu. We pick a theme and we would say Italian. We would make the sauce and we would cook for hours and then we would have our whole entire family and all our friends and neighbors over to eat. It was a great Sunday tradition. We still do it, not every weekend like we used to but we at least try to do it once a month.
Q - This was something you did for years?
A – Yeah.
Q - Then in 2009, someone said to you” why don’t you go public”? Or you said “let’s go public”. Is that how it happened?
A - In 2009 I was needing kind of a flexible job. So, people kept telling me you should put this in a jar and sell it, so we did. Then I took it to farmers markets and it exploded from there.
Q - How much of an investment did you have to make to launch your company? Was it expensive?
A - Very expensive.
Q - I figured you’d say that.
A - Yeah, most people think that opening a business and getting into a couple of grocery stores is easy and then you make all kinds of money, no.
Q - When you started making pasta sauce, where were you making it? In your kitchen? Did you have to rent a commercial kitchen?
A - We went straight to Co- Packer. We found a smaller Co-Packer and had it made there.
Q - What does the co-Packer do?
A - They actually have a manufacturing facility. They take our recipe and they mass-produce it.
Q - So you didn’t have to worry about food inspectors coming in?
A - Correct. And, we didn’t have local food kitchens to rent at that time in the Iowa area. So, really to put it in a bottle and sell it, the co-packer was really our only option.
Q - What does a jar of your pasta sauce cost?
A - It depends on the retailer-but it ranges anywhere from $5.99 to $7.99 a jar.
Q - How do you handle supermarkets who are now bottling their own sauce in selling a three pack for $2.99?
A - Well, that’s really not our competition. We battle our competition. We sell it as a gourmet pasta sauce because it’s all natural gluten-free, non-GMO verified. It is top of the line ingredients, so we market it that way. We don’t even try to compete with the cheaper brands at all. It is a competitive category but we have to find unique ways to get attention and get people to try the sauce.
Q - And how do you do that?
A - Marketing.
Q -Are you heavily involved in marketing yourself?
A - I’m getting there. I’m in the process of trying to hire someone but, it’s a little difficult to hire somebody when you’re a small company that’s really good. They cost a lot.
Q - And so when somebody says to you “Lisa, your sauce is so much better than Ragu or Prego” that just makes your day doesn’t?
A - It does. I just look at every comment I get, good or bad as a learning experience and when people reorder it, it’s the ultimate compliment. I get so excited.
Q - You’re now in stores as well as online, correct?
A - Correct.
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