The Austin Chronicle

Food Set

By Rebecca Chastenet dé Gery, August 25, 2000, Food


Barely two months into business, the Sanderson family -- Margaret and Eddie of San Saba, and their grown sons Shawn and Brian of Austin -- saw their Texas-Texas salsa capture the attention they had only dreamed their product would get months down the road. The Sanderson's fledgling company took a First Place and a People's Choice Award at the Hot Sauce Festival, giving the new venture an extra vote of confidence. "I can't describe how excited we were," says family patriarch Eddie, who had spent a lifetime working in agriculture and 25 years growing pecans before moving into salsa bottling. "I called all my friends and family to tell them what had happened. Winning the contest gave us the credibility of someone else saying our salsa was good. It was just great."

Texas-Texas, a brand of the San Saba-based Sanderson Specialty Food Company, is the brainchild of the Sanderson sons, who thought owning and operating a salsa business would be a fun, profitable alternative to a life in agriculture. Both men worked hard at developing a business plan and conducting preliminary market research, while their parents sought the advice of friends Rocky and Dee Dee Garcia, the owners of Creative Foods in San Antonio. Two years later, Texas-Texas salsa hit the shelves in the Austin and San Antonio areas. Today, the family's line includes a wide range of products, from the new Peach-Pecan Salsa and smoky Chipotle Steak Sauce to the company's original Mild, Medium, and Perfect-Hot salsas. Texas-Texas salsa is marketed under two separate labels, one for specialty groceries such as Whole Foods Market and Central Market and boutique stores like Tears of Joy, the other for supermarket chains, among them Albertson's, HEB, Randalls Sun Harvest, and Wal-Mart. A new product line bearing the Texas Legends label and marketed exclusively over the Internet and in gift baskets is due out soon.

Asked about the company's name, Eddie Sanderson chuckled, saying, "Well, throughout my 25 years in business, the family has emphasized Texas and Texas products. We thought the name really drove home the point. I have a sign on the back of my pickup that says, 'Where in the World is Texas-Texas?' You wouldn't believe the number of people who ask where it is, which is just a great starting point for us to introduce our business. It's a name that works."

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