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#89124 - 07/05/04 11:24 PM oh my gosh, Marie Sharps to become available in the USA
Marty Online   happy
Marie Sharp’s Habanero Pepper Sauce continues to be in high demand in the United States. Owner, Marie Sharp is back in the country after visiting the US to finalize agreements with one of the major supermarkets and other stores where her products will be sold. Love News Centre spoke with her to find out more about this venture.
"In my mind I was saying if they give me 50 stores I am happy cause you know what Wal Mart is, it is a giant name of over 3000 store in the US alone so I said if they started with 50 store I would be very happy. When we went to the states we sat down and spoke to the buyer and Wal Mart itself and we were told that we were going to be given the entire South Eastern US which comprises of 345 stores and that was beyond my expectation and actually I could almost feel myself trembling under the table because that is a big chunk for me as I am a small producer. So we started working on that we will get into the Wal Mart store by mid September and they are giving us 345 stores we are started negotiating towards that; I was very happy about that and then I went up this week to sign the contract only to be told that I have 600 public stores, public supermarket. I still can’t even begin to put it together in my head this is going to represent a very big jump for Mari Sharp, a switch they are going now from being a company that were just about holding up their nose out of the water to now because of the mass production that I am going to do now. One of the things that has always kept us back was true put you need true put to make you really make money, we haven’t had true put, we have been operating just barely sitting afloat."
In addition to supplying Wal-Mart Stores and Public’s Supermarkets, Marie Sharp Fine Foods will also be sold in 53 Windixies Supermarkets also in the United States.

#89125 - 07/05/04 11:37 PM Re: oh my gosh, Marie Sharps to become available in the USA
cajunman Offline
I guess WalMart can do some good after all.....congrats to Marie Sharp!!!!!

#89126 - 07/06/04 09:13 AM Re: oh my gosh, Marie Sharps to become available in the USA
I've been able to get Marie Sharps at the Farmers Market for about a year now. I just turned around one day and there it was!!!!!
Happy to hear that I can visit her in Wal Mart and Winn-Dixie now too though.... one more reason to SHOP!!!!

#89127 - 07/06/04 10:40 AM Re: oh my gosh, Marie Sharps to become available in the USA
skullyboy Offline
The only problem of working with Wallmart, They'll tell you how, when,where,how much and how high. I hope the news is still good news one year from now.

#89128 - 07/06/04 02:21 PM Re: oh my gosh, Marie Sharps to become available in the USA
egcntrk Offline
Wonderful...but it doesn't sound like I'll be able to get in my area. That's depressing...now, if we could just get the fruit concentrate for rum punch!

#89129 - 07/06/04 02:22 PM Re: oh my gosh, Marie Sharps to become available in the USA
whotsyface Offline

Buy it from Denfield!!!!!!! He is in California and is working towards being the first distributor of Belikin in the US. If any of you are in CA, you might be lucky and be able to purchase it from him already.... I don't know for sure though.

Denfield is super nice and has always been quick to respond to my email..... Give him a shot! Marie will get her money, So will Denfield and Forget about Wal-Mart!!! Give your money to the little guy!
take care all

#89130 - 07/06/04 05:39 PM Re: oh my gosh, Marie Sharps to become available in the USA
Marty Online   happy
Her products have been selling in selected gourmet markets in the United States since 1986. But come September Marie Sharp's hot pepper sauce will be hitting the taste buds of millions of customers in the south-eastern United States. According to Sharp, she has entered into agreements with the major super market chains of Wal-Mart, Winn-Dixie and Publix that will put her Belizean heat on the shelves of thousands of stores. In a telephone interview from her Stann Creek factory this afternoon, Sharp told News Five that the high cost of getting her products into super markets in the States has been keeping her out for years, but claims that the good publicity from so many returning tourists was responsible for the marketing breakthrough. While it is a dream come true for her, the “pepper queen” says the entry of her products into these major chains will bring economic benefits to hundreds of local farmers and workers.

Marie Sharp, Proprietor, Marie Sharp’s Products
“I don’t have an exact figure yet because I am waiting on Publix to see what they are going to take, but it wants to look like anywhere between three and six containers a month.”

Patrick Jones
“Now where are you going to get all the pepper needed for you to fill those containers?”

Marie Sharp
Well, I have been planting a lot on my own. To date, I think we have like about fifteen acres and we intend to go up to twenty-five or more if we need, but we have planted quite a bit on our own.”

“As soon as I heard about Wal-Mart I got together with the Ministry of Agriculture and we have been asking small farmers to go into peppers and to plant peppers. Peppers is a cash crop it’s a four month crop.”

“It looks good for me, it looks good for the small farmers, because then we will be able to be moving more of the fruits, all the tropical fruits. I mean they will have a place to sell all their guavas, and their papayas and the mangoes and their pineapples, and all the other fruits that we use in the process here.”

“This will mean that we will have to take on full time people in just cooking, preparing, preparation, and full time people just filling, and then another full time set of people just to produce the jams.”

Patrick Jones
“So between now and September you will be bulking up your staff?”

Marie Sharp

“Yes, it’s going to be like triple. And then don’t forget the farms also, because if we have to be extending our pepper farming, we will be taking on again. Out in the farms we have like about twenty-five, and if we are going to be doing all that we say we are doing on the farm it’s going to be like another twenty-five.”

“No, I would have never thought I would have seen this in my lifetime. I am very happy that it has happened, that I can see it during my lifetime, but to be honest with you, this is beyond my dreams. I never thought I would have seen it.”

The first shipment of Marie Sharp's products destined for the States is scheduled to leave the Belize City port on September fifteenth. Wal-Mart and Winn-Dixie will be carrying three varieties of hot sauce, while Publix will stock the hot sauce and her line of jams and jellies

#89131 - 07/06/04 08:13 PM Re: oh my gosh, Marie Sharps to become available in the USA
klcman Offline
We all hope this is a very good thing for MS, but fear this may mean that the MS we all know & love will become another mass-produced cookie cutter tasteless glob, once Uncle Wally has his way. frown
_ _ _ _ _ _ _________________ _ _ _ _ _ _
But then what do I know, I am but a mere caveman

#89132 - 07/07/04 12:13 AM Re: oh my gosh, Marie Sharps to become available in the USA
Everglades Offline
WOW what good news, we have been carrying some of Marie's hot stuff home with us. Running out meant "start planning another trip to Belize". Well almost. (Smiles)

#89133 - 07/11/04 09:20 AM Re: oh my gosh, Marie Sharps to become available in the USA
Marty Online   happy
Marie Sharp hot in the US

by Adele Ramos

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. July 8, 2004

The Belizean household name, Marie Sharp, will soon enjoy greater popularity in the United States, as three foremost supermarkets, Wal-mart, Publix and Winn Dixies, have sought out Mrs. Sharp’s products to sell in almost 1,000 U.S. stores.

In an interview with Amandala today, Marie Sharp, now 64, confirmed that she had sealed a contract with Wal-mart last week to sell her pepper sauces in 345 stores, primarily in the South Eastern United States, in places like Texas, and New Orleans.

Wal-mart, she said, has space for four of Marie Sharp’s products, under the label Marie Sharp Fine Food Products: Nopal, made of “scogie neal,” (or the prickly pear) and green habanero pepper; and the Beware, Fiery Hot, and Hot pepper sauces.

She added that the entire line—including the new hot sauces, Belizean Heat and No Whips Allowed, and Marie Sharp’s jams and jellies—will probably be sold in the other store’s—600 Publix stores and 53 Winn-Dixie stores.

The peppers, said Mrs. Sharp, will sell for under US$2.00 for a 5-oz bottle.

Already, her products ship to Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. Recently, said Sharp, the company signed a new contract with its Japanese contact, to have her products marketed in Taiwan, Korea, France and Italy.

“I never thought I would have seen it in my lifetime,” she expressed, elatedly. She said that she was away in the United Kingdom in May when a Wal-mart buyer began calling her in Belize. She learned of it when she returned to Belize. She called him back, and the buyer was on the plane to Belize the following day, she further informed.

Mrs. Sharp returned to Belize last Friday, after sealing a contract with Wal-Mart to supply its chain of stores.

She said that she had been selling her products in “mom and pop” stores in the United States since 1986, when her husband, Dangriga-born Jerry Sharp, built her a factory, at their Melinda farm in Stann Creek.

“Really, we had only been targeting the ethnic market…” said Marie Sharp, “We were never able to get into the supermarkets because of the price to get in.”

She explained that a spot on the supermarket shelves for a case of her products would cost her $3,000—that’s $27,000 for her nine products, she extrapolated. “We were never able to get into the supermarkets because of this… We don’t have that kind of money.”

“It does not end there; as you have to do demo’s, coupons, consumer shows…because if you do not move at least 15 cases a month [and each case carries 12 bottles], you’re gone!”

Since it was the Wal-mart buyer who found Marie Sharp, she does not have to pay this hefty sum of money to get her products sold at the supermarkets. Additionally, when news got out that Wal-mart wanted Marie Sharps, Publix and Winn-Dixie decided to jump on the bandwagon.

The entrepreneur believes that tourists who have been introduced to her products in Belize have helped to spread the word on the US market.

“Now, the supermarket is telling their buyers to find Marie,” she said.

Wal-mart wants her products on the shelves by September 15, 2004, and Sharp said that she would probably start shipping in August.

Her only concern is finding enough peppers to meet the new demand. She said that she has contacted the Ministry of Agriculture, who would in turn encourage small farmers to plant more peppers.

Sharp herself has 15 acres planted and hopes to add another 10 acres within the next month.

Peppers take about four months to go from seed to produce, she explained. “It is a cash crop—this is where the small farmers benefit.”

Marie Sharp’s success story began in her kitchen in 1981.

While holding her daytime job for three years, she worked nights and weekends at her new trade.

Today, Marie Sharp has a staff of 25, capable of filling a container in 3 days—up to 10 containers in a month, or 480,000 bottles.

Initially, she said, she intends to ship anywhere from 3 to 6 containers to the three supermarkets who are now asking for her products.

Mrs. Sharp’s parents were originally from San Pedro and they moved to Stann Creek when she was nine years old.

As an adult, her farm life bloomed. “We used to spend all our free time on the [husband’s family] farm, planting everything that can grow in Belize…” she said.

She has built the Marie Sharps empire as a workingwoman, wife and mother, raising her three sons and 6 stepchildren, while channeling much of her inventive energies into her new creations.

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