Do you remember when I pitched Out of the Weeds dressings to Winn-Dixie last summer, hoping to be a part of their 2016 Winn-Local campaign? For months I was not able to share much about the process due to confidentiality, and really just a lack of knowledge. These are unchartered waters for me, I am learning as I go, and trying to be very compliant. But now I can tell you more . . .
Weeks after the sales pitch, I received an email from Southeastern Grocers informing me that my products had been selected to be a part of the Winn-Dixie Winn-Local program: a program spotlighting locally produced products, often small businesses, bringing them to the shelves of your favorite, local grocer and making them available to thousands of customers across the southeast. You know how crazy I am about supporting local businesses, so it has been a perfect fit for Out of the Weeds. Thankfully, Winn-Dixie and Destiny Organics agreed and I am finally proud to share that Carrot Ginger, Roasted Beet Vinaigrette and Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette are on the shelves of over 100 Florida Winn-Dixie stores.
From St. Petersburg to Tampa, Sarasota to Orlando, Titusville to Port Charlotte, Cocoa Beach, Lakeland, and New Port Richey to Sun City Center, and more. The entire list will be up on both Three Birds Tavern and Out of the Weeds sites soon.
I made my first retail purchase at one of our local Winn-Dixie stores at 3327 9th Street North in St. Petersburg and the experience was a bit surreal. Jack and I walked in, not sure where to find the display. Out of the Weeds is shelved with several other locally produced products, Winn-Local, not in the salad dressing or condiment isle, at this time.
At this particular store the products were near the fresh produce and wine sections. Pretty good spot. The display is beautiful. Check it out. What good company I’m keeping: Ashlynn’s Gourmet, Cigar City Salsa, Intensity Academy Gourmet & Hot Sauces, Patty’s Peppers, Uncle Matty’s Food Company, and so many more.
After snapping a few photos, I picked up one of each and headed to the check-out line to make my first, official, retail purchase. A day I won’t soon forget. Gayleen greeted us with a smile and asked if we had found everything we were looking for. When I told her that the dressings were “mine”, created by me, and this was my first Winn-Dixie retail purchase of my product, she grinned and congratulated me over and over.
She was as excited about it all as I was.
This is a dream coming true for me. I have known for years that I wanted to get into the food industry, and for whatever reason, Three Birds Tavern was the first stop in 2009, but just the beginning. Bottling three of the dressings from our restaurant made sense, a product that we already knew people liked, and came to our restaurant specifically to enjoy. What’s next? While overseeing continual growth at Three Birds, and managing the initial three Out of the Weeds products, I am always contemplating the next move. Additional Three Birds Tavern locations is off the table, although at one point we considered growing in that direction. More Out of the Weeds? Yes, that is a part of the big picture. More of the first products, AND, more products. Stay tuned.
But for now, I need your help. If you are in Florida, please go to your local Winn-Dixie and buy a bottle, or three, of Out of the Weeds All Natural, Made Fresh in Florida, salad dressings. Tell your local store manager how grateful you are that they are carrying this product, and how much you LOVE the Winn-Local initiative.
Then, take a photo while making your purchase, add the store location, and use the hashtag #outoftheweeds. Post it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, everywhere. Out of the Weeds in on the shelves, now we have to make sure it moves off the shelves.
Thank you. Your support during my journey has meant so much to me. I am proof that your dreams can also come true, and I encourage you to dream big.
Now go to Winn-Dixie, and remember to share your photos, using #outoftheweeds.
Out of the weeds and into your kitchen.