In about a year's time Slow Jams
jam has gone from a hobby to a business, from Detroit's Eastern Market to store shelves at markets around and small shops all around Metro Detroit.
This month the jam that comes in 20-plus creative flavor combinations such as blueberry lavender and strawberry balsamic and the newest just announced Spicy Strawberry Bomb, hopped on Pure Michigan shelves in 20 Kroger stores.
Shannon Byrne, jam-maker and founder of Slow Jams, says the success comes from being part of a connected, supportive food and slow foods community in metro Detroit.
On the heels of the Kroger deal more stores are coming, such as Fresh Farms Market in Grosse Pointe Farms.
Slow Jams, which is based in Grosse Pointe, employs four, not including Byrne, and will likely expand as more stores stock their product. New Slow Jams sellers include Plum Market and Zingerman's Creamery.
"We are so grateful for the success we've had so far," says Byrne.
It only took about six months of selling at Eastern Market to decide to go retail. "It was fast once we saw there was a demand," Byrne says. "We had restaurants coming to us wanting to use our stuff."
She says cottage food laws that eased restrictions to let more products be made in homes made it possible for the business to begin.
"And having Eastern Market, that was huge…It is a huge hub of what's going on the city around food," says Byrne, who uses locally sourced ingredients and business partnerships to produce Slow Jam. "Restaurant owners, chefs, store folks would come by and say they were really interested."
One example Forest Grill's Brian Polcyn and David Gilbert
"We want to continue to be successful," she says. "But only if we can stay true to using locally sourced ingredients…and only with an environmental focus on low waste and making our carbon footprint as small as it can be."
Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Shannon Byrne, owner, Slow Jams