It can be hard to get into the food business. In Vermont there are 20 specialty food starts up a year, but half of those fail. A Rutland company hopes its unique spin on a common product will help it stay afloat.
This Rutland facility may look bland -- filled with only the essentials, but it's packed with what matters -- flavor and heart.
"We love Vermont. We wanted to stay here and we thought the best way is to make our own opportunity," said Joe Vullo. Vullo and his wife, Diane, did just that. After buying the rights to a local favorite salad dressing four years ago called Galumpia, Vermont Wholesome Foodswas born.
But the Galumpia recipe failed and Vullo quickly had to adapt the concoction to stay afloat. Say hello to the new and improved version -- Parmesan Italian. The couple is all in, making unique varieties of salad dressings. And they're not alone -- there are more than a dozen dressing companies in Vermont.
"I couldn't just make a vinaigrette and expect it to sell, that's why we did the apple shallot -- it's just different enough that it might catch people's attention," Vullo said.
But he says business is slow -- selling about 1000 cases of the dressing a year. That's why he's added some new, eye catching and mouth watering flavors -- like maple chipotle and mango almond. "I actually was trying to force shitake lemon. That wasn't working, so one day I woke up and say let me try shitake ranch and it came out very well," he said.
Still, Vullo is giving the business two years to turn around or he's shutting it down. "Food has always been my passion," he said.
You can find the dressings in co-ops, general stores and select Shaws and Price Choppers around the state, or on-line. It costs about 5-dollars a bottle.
A Made in Vermont passion that Joe Vullo hopes will continue for many years to come.
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