Faye Wood always dreamed of having her own business. Retired from the education field, she thought opening a daycare was the obvious choice. But something else kept pushing to the front of her mind. Food.
She comes from a family of great cooks, and has always loved cooking herself. But what would she sell? That answer, was actually quite simple.
In 2006, Wood introduced Auntie Faye’s Spratt to the world at the annual Stocked Market in Roanoke. A mixture of cabbage, peppers and “other good things,” that can be used as a spread, dip, topping or dressing on a variety of foods such as barbecue, chili or pinto beans, Spratt was a huge hit. And it sold much quicker than Wood anticipated.
“I sold out on the first day, stayed up all night to make more for Saturday, sold out again, and had to make more for Sunday,” she recalls.
Spratt was the brainchild of her Great-Great-Uncle Fate, who owned a saloon in Knoxville during the 1800s. Wanting to increase his drink sales, he concocted “Jack Spratt” and spread it on a hot dog. The recipe had a kick to it, leaving the customers wanting more Spratt and, in turn, more to drink.
After watching a television show about a family that started a hot sauce business in their kitchen and later went international, Wood’s epiphany came. She could do the same with this recipe that had been passed down from generation to generation in her family.
“I asked the Lord if this is what he wanted me to do, and if it was, to send me a direct sign,” she says. He did just that, “and He has affirmed me each step of the way, even if I’m not quite sure where I want to be yet.”
Wood sells Auntie Faye’s Spratt – a Virginia’s Finest Trademark product – at local functions that feature vendors; it’s also sold in The Cheese Shop in Stuarts Draft and Healthy Stuff Café in Roanoke. She is working to make it available at The Fresh Market.
Loyal customers panic when their jar of Spratt is almost empty, Wood says, and many new customers taste it and tell her “you’ve got a winner, there.” She attributes her success to God, her husband Dyke Wood Sr., her godson Joshua English who helps her sell the product, and many more friends and family members. And values instilled by her parents continue to keep her motivated.
“My parents nurtured my ideas and always encouraged me to think outside the box,” she says. “They never doubted me and always said I could do whatever I put my mind to.”
They certainly were right.
Spratt comes in mild, hot, and zesty flavors. Wood was generous to offer me a sampling of the mild, which tantalized my taste buds. The mixture was the perfect complement to barbecue chicken sliders and as a spread on a ham sandwich wrap.
16-oz. jars sell for $7. To order, call 540-819-3074 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.