Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Michele Campbell, Owner of Campbell Gardens, located in Centerville, KS, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Campbell Gardens is a name that's synonymous with high-quality, locally sourced, and deliciously flavorful products. The lineup of condiments has grown from the flagship Candied Jalapeños to include other spice-packed items like Candied Habaneros with Jalapeños and Ghost Peppers with a Habanero Jalapeno blend. And with the recent addition of new products like Candied Garlic Pickles, Jalapeño Blueberry, Strawberry and Peach Preserves, and Red & Green Pepper Jelly. We have produced four cookbooks using our spicy products. Recipes that come from our own kitchen and from our Pepper Fans that share their favorite recipe. There's no stopping this family-owned business from satisfying our cravings for bold flavors. We attract spicy food lovers and those who like to play in the kitchen.

Tell us about yourself

Our story of how Campbell Gardens came to be is a green thumb, greenhouse, and an abundance of jalapeños while canning in the kitchen. We use an old family recipe that we have perfected over the years. Once we moved to the country with unlimited gardening spots, we found the deer, turkeys, and birds left the jalapeños alone with buckets of jalapeños available; we returned to the kitchen. Producing a large amount of our delicious candied jalapeños, by that Christmas, a neighbor suggested we head to a Holiday Craft Fair with our jars of peppers. We sold out in 3 hours, which started the spicy adventures of Campbell Gardens. Our commitment to using fresh, locally sourced ingredients is at the heart of Campbell Gardens' success. We make each product with the finest ingredients to ensure a sweet and spicy kick while supporting local farmers who help us with the growing. What keeps us going is we love to see the nod and smile after a new customer tastes a sample. Our validations are not only our reviews but also our customer's sharing across the country. The positive feedback from our wholesale retailers and the phone calls from the gentleman in South Dakota who had to share how much he loves our garlic pickles or the lady who had to order a case of jalapeños because she didn't dare run out.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I love that our family and close friends have supported this journey. When I say the family, that includes the parents, sisters, children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, and friends who always show up when the call is made for help, they all have helped at the farm, events, making deliveries, and offering solutions to running a business. It has made precious memories for us all. We could not do what we do without their support and unconditional love.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

We jumped into this business without knowing the bookkeeping required, marketing skills, or how to purchase supplies in large quantities every day; we discover something new that challenges us. With the proper networking, we have preserved and enjoyed the adventure.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Develop a solid business plan. This includes identifying your target market, creating a budget, setting goals, and determining a marketing strategy.
  2. Build a strong network. Networking is crucial to the success of any business. Building a strong network will not only help you gain new business but also provide support and resources when you need them.
  3. Be adaptable and flexible. It's important to be able to adapt to changing circumstances. Open to new ideas and approaches and willing to pivot your strategy when necessary. Plus, stay up-to-date with your industry's latest trends and technologies to remain competitive.

Starting a business is a long-term commitment that requires hard work, dedication, and perseverance. With these tips, you can set yourself up for success and take your business to the next level.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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