Tempting sauces have a palatable sensation, but the effort behind the sauces is what makes them truly unique. Four years ago, as a result of the recession both Sal and Val Gray lost their jobs of over twenty-five years. When other job opportunities were presented, both Sal and Val were turned away. Dismayed and discouraged, they weren’t aware of the route that fate was about to grant them. Like most Italians, when they mourn, they cook for their friends and family. Sal and Val began to invest their creative hands and loving hearts into pasta sauce. “We did what all good Italian do when they get bummed out, we cooked and fed our friends and family,” said Sal and Val.
After a great deal of encouragement from their loved ones to make a profit off of the sauces, they took a leap of faith and decided to sell their jarred sauces at a craft show. Amazed at the turnout, Sal and Val sold out at their first event. The Grays were delighted and took it as a sign to move forward with their sauces and put them on the market.
Sal and Val were confident that if their products hit the market their customers would be conscious of the love and tradition that is essential in their sauces. Along with taste being an imperative component of each sauce, the Grays also wanted their sauces to contribute to good health. “Italian Hearts sauces are a marriage of traditional Italian sauce recipes passed down from generation to generation, with additional touches that uniquely make them our own,” said Sal and Val.
Italian Hearts Pasta Sauces is a Made in Nevada member, the longest running Nevada marketing cooperative in Nevada, which has allowed the Grays a better opportunity to network with local farmers and ranchers. Italian Hearts sauces are made with all organic and local meats, produce, and herbs. Being a Made in Nevada member also allows Sal and Val to promote their products alongside other local businesses.
Once put on the market, there was an immediate interest in Italian Hearts Pasta Sauces and their business blossomed. It seemed as if the business was moving forward, but in such a way that Sal and Val mentally and financially weren’t prepared. When the Grays approached the Nevada Small Business Development Center they were seeking business growth funding and ways to find devoted employees. With the help of their Carson City business advisor, Michael Salogga, the Grays explored a variety of financing opportunities. They partnered up with a business partner that eliminated the fears of enlarging the company on a commercial level between just the two of them. “We have employed upwards of fifteen people. We hope to employ even more as we grow,” said Sal and Val.
Being faithful customers of Whole Foods, the Grays were determined to contribute to Whole Foods’ mission to supply customers with satisfying quality foods. After a year, Italian Hearts Pasta Sauces is now being sold on Whole Foods shelves. Sal and Val had reached their number one goal of getting into a grocery store that they well respect. Expansion to other locations didn’t stop there. You can now find Italian Hearts Pasta Sauces at Raley’s, Safeway, Natural Grocers, Great Basin Community Co-op, Sierra Seafood, Napa Sonoma, Buy Nevada First Gift Store, Scolari’s and Big Horn Olive Oil.
Through perseverance and hard work, Sal and Val know they can broaden their business beyond Northern Nevada. “We have been very well received… A goal is to sell directly to cafes and restaurants,” said Sal and Val.
The Grays continue to bring authentic Italian tradition and comfort to Nevada. “Our mission is simple: to provide the best products and service to our customers at the lowest prices possible. We take great pride in our company, our commitment to customer service, and the products we sell,” said Sal and Val. Alongside the vast expansion of the company that has been made this past year, the couple hopes to build a small café with their store front and production facility all in one.
To learn more about Italian Hearts Pasta Sauces connect with them on Facebook at: http://Facebook.com//ItalianHearts