For immediate release
Dec. 8, 2015
For more information, contact
Maria Bancroft at (573) 265-2993
MRPC Executive Director Bonnie Prigge, The Blue Hill Company owners Brenda and Jimmy Story, USDA State Director Janie Dunning, MRPC business loan specialist Maria Bancroft and Matt Moore of USDAattended The Blue Hill Company open house Oct. 23.
The Blue Hill Company introduces more jams with new storefront
ST. JAMES— Jimmy and Brenda Story, owners of The Blue Hill Company in Rolla which is known for its Blue Banero Jam, introduced their newly expanded jam line at the open house Oct. 23 that also featured a new manufacturing facility, retail store section, production/processing room, storage space and the potential for future additions to the facility.
The Storys first began selling their jams from home in 2010. The Blue Hill Company, located at 19410 State Route O near Rolla, began in 2012 by offering the traditional you-pick-it farm where customers picked their own fresh blueberries.
The company has since expanded into a small-scale manufacturer of jams, specifically Blue Banero Jam, an innovative concoction of habanero peppers and blueberries, formed into a traditional jam. The fresh, new product has grown to the level where each season, Blue Banero sells out and customers are eager to purchase when production opens again. With two other blueberry you-pick-it farms within a 35-mile radius, and the farmland available to expand their own blueberry production, the Storys undertook a feasibility to determine if a larger market existed for their products.
“In our new building, we wanted to use the storefront to offer our products to the public, but have since expanded to offer several more Missouri made products,” Brenda Story said.
Since the project’s completion in July 2015, Brenda Story has added Cran Appeno Jam, Pear JalaMango Jam, Peachy Peno Jam and Cherry Bomb Jam. She plans to add a blackberry pepper jam in 2016.
While the storefront had already been open for four Saturdays, the open house on Oct. 23 was the first time many customers had seen the jams and Missouri made products, such as Jailhouse Jalapeno Brew mustard, Mimi’s Candied Jalapenas, which is a sliced jalapeno in a sweet syrup, and Harvey’s Pecans.
“This project was two years in the making,” Brenda Story said. “There were some obstacles, but we received funding in May 2014 and broke ground in January 2015, and the project was completed this year.”
The Storys, secured financing from Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s (MRPC) IRP loan program in partnership with Central Federal Savings and Loan in Rolla. Economically, the company will also create two jobs to fit the needs of the new expansion.
MRPC, in cooperation with Meramec Regional Development Cooperation, offers several business financing programs in partnership with area banks.
“We decided that the storefront would only be open on Saturdays since we still have other full-time jobs,” Brenda Story said.
She has been employed with Missouri Enterprise for over 19 years, has over 30 year experience in accounting, information technology and all aspects of business management. Jimmy Story also works with Missouri Enterprise and has been the business programs manager for over 17 years. He has more than 25 years of experience in planning, organization and implantation of Total Quality Management Programs.
The Storys are also hoping to export their products in the near future and have already had successful Internet sales.
“Our first internet sales order was for 19 jars, and we have not heard anything negative,” Brenda Story said.
While the building expansion is completed, the Storys are still working on expanding their product lines and have been filling orders since August.
“We are working with a company to get our product in Hi-V, Dierbergs, Silver Dollar City and Dolly Wood,” Brenda Story said. “We have products in stores in Alabama, Florida, at Goeke Produce in St. Louis and a creamery is interested in using the Blue Benero Jam as a filling.”
The storefront carries a variety of items ready for Christmas. A gift basket with all the jams, a trio basket, and Christmas mugs are available at the store and online at www.thebluehillco.com.
Meramec Regional Development Corporation is a 501c 3 not-for-profit corporation that is also a Small Business Administration Certified Development Company (CDC). MRDC serves primarily Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties.
MRDC is a local volunteer board making local decisions that result in job creation for the Meramec Region. MRPC provides day-to-day operations for MRDC and also owns the revolving loan funds with MRDC providing loan review and loan decisions.
Formed in 1969, MRPC is a voluntary council of governments serving Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Maries, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties and their respective cities. A professional staff of 24, directed by the MRPC board, offers technical assistance and services, such as grant preparation and administration, housing assistance, transportation planning, environmental planning, ordinance codification, business loans and other services to member communities.
To keep up with the latest MRPC news and events, visit the MRPC website at www.meramecregion.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meramecregion.