By KAITLYN SUTOW
Fujii’s Gourmet is a small local business that is based in the city of Redlands. The business sells jars of teriyaki sauce that are made from a family recipe passed down for over 100 years.
The business was founded by Ric Sutow, who has “retired from financial services but was too young to fully retire.” The idea arose 30 years ago when Ric was in college. After retiring a year and a half ago, he finally decided to put the idea into motion. After many decisions, meetings and phone calls the business was officially up and running on Dec. 26 of last year.
So far, the business is set up and doing well. Some worries are that it will not gain enough following and not earn back what has already been spent on it. Despite this, Ric says “it’s a lot of stress but it’s a lot of fun.”
There were many difficulties in setting up the company, and “it seems new issues arise daily.” Initially, the sauce was going to be produced in his kitchen; but, after speaking with the health department, it was ruled that it did not follow the “Cottage Food laws.” As an alternative, it was recommended that it be made in a commercial kitchen, and he did just that.
He hoped to sell his sauce at local swap meets and farmers markets. Unfortunately, that was not an option as the events were not accepting new food vendors. Another difficulty with selling at events is that, as of now, there is only one type of sauce available: original. Though this is true, he has already begun to branch out and make different varieties, such as a spicy teriyaki sauce.
The business hopes to grow and thrive in the community while setting an example of a successful business that starts from the ground up and is established through hard work.