Allyson and Chris Virden are #MadeForKnoxville
Is there a more flavorful finisher than red pepper flakes? Well, Chris thought there could be–and now, there is.
This initial idea for Olde Virden’s came to Chris as he watched the bland flakes from days of old fall upon his delicious homemade pizzas. He soon crafted a unique blend of five chilies–now, no more pizzas need suffer. Chris sources the peppers from local Tennessee farmers and creates each small batch in his family-run Gatlinburg facility.
Olde Virden’s is an East Tennessee affair, with a special touch of spice.
“It’s been a slow start to learning the manufacturing business and how the consumer packaged goods industry works, but we are growing and 2021 is looking like it’s going to be our best year yet.”
In Their Own Words..
While managing LeConte Lodge in the Smoky Mountains National Park, Chris Virden conceived the idea for Olde Virden’s Red Hot Sprinkle. While making home made pizzas during crew pizza night, he wondered if there was a more flavorful option than crushed red pepper. After much research, he decided this was a product he could make and make a much more flavorful option. After a couple of years of production, he connected with a local farmer who started growing peppers for the product. The peppers are grown in Grainger county and then processed in Knoxville. This allows control over the quality and freshness used to produce the different blends.
Seven years and 350 stores stocking Olde Virden’s, the pandemic presented a need to shift the business model. While continuing to focus on wholesale sales, it was time to market towards direct to consumer sales. We also decided it was time to introduce our newest blend which would help direct sales to our website. This increased our direct to consumer sales and drove more visits to our website.
At the same time, we reintroduced our products to Amazon. This enabled us to connect with potential customers all over the United States. This helped to increase online sales when much of the nation was shifting that way.
It’s been a slow start to learning the manufacturing business and how the consumer packaged goods industry works, but we are growing and 2021 is looking like it’s going to be our best year yet.
Interested in sharing your “Made for Knoxville” story? Submit here!