Kiva Zip Loan Stories: Glover’s Pepper Sauce


GloverinKitchen

Jamie Glover works as a currency trader from 9:00 to 5:00, but in his free time he makes unique pickled pepper relishes and runs Glover’s Pepper Sauce.

After his first six months in business, Glover was almost ready to “throw in the towel” on the part-time business, thinking he couldn’t take it any further without giving up his day job. Feeling stuck, he “went to Jonas [Singer, co-founder of Union Kitchen] in a moment of desperation. … and said ‘I’m going to have to quit [my business]. … I’m going to have to take a break.’”

That is when Glover found out about the Kiva Zip loan program and learned that Union Kitchen could act as a trustee to vouch for his ability to repay a loan. Glover received a $5,000 Kiva Zip loan in April of 2014. Since then, he has been able to advance his business while still holding down a full-time job.

Before the loan, Glover had spent months steadily making a stockpile of his pepper relishes at Union Kitchen without a steady stream of sales matching the pace of his production. He describes his first three months in business as “merely trying to get people to buy something they didn’t know they needed.” Glover estimates that he gave away about 500 bottles of his product in his first six months of business, mostly to area chefs and restaurateurs. It takes some time for those free samples to translate into sales. “For every five ‘no’s, there’s a guy who says ‘Oh, that’s great!’”

“Kiva was a saving grace,” he says. “I think the program is kind and fair, and it’s much needed. … It allowed me not only to cover a few months of rent here at Union Kitchen, but also enabled me to go ahead and sign up for all the festivals I wanted to be a part of this summer.”

Glover envisions his pepper relish as “a gourmet sauce for the everyday, blue-collar guy, or the everyday sauce for the white-collar guy.” “My primary goal,” he explains, “is to be a condiment on the table at restaurants. … I wanted to make something to peppers what ketchup is to tomatoes.”

Slowly but surely, Glover has been able to make progress toward his ambitious goals for Glover’s Pepper Sauce. Eventually, he wants to “manufacture enough so that I can sign on with a distributor who can distribute … [the product] in restaurants. And then I [can] make enough so that I can grow from 10 Whole Foods to be accepted to all 42 in this region. Regional success would be a lovely living. I wouldn’t need to go beyond that. But,” he adds, “it would be really, really fun to think that ‘Wow, this is something that could be on restaurant tables across the country.’”

Video footage of our interview with Jamie Glover will be available soon on Kiva Zip’s website.

Read more Kiva Zip loan stories from Union Kitchen members here.