If you had asked Jordan Franks where he saw his career path going two years ago, the last thing he would have said is the salsa business. In fact, before trying his wife Alex’s one evening, you’d be hard pressed to get him to even touch a tomato, let alone eat an entire jar of salsa. Now, he can’t get enough.
Based in St. Louis, the Franks officially launched JACK’s Salsa in October of 2020. JACK’s, which is an acronym of each of the Franks’ family member’s first initials, became the perfect moniker for their new business. Today, they sell three flavors: the Sassy “O.G” based on Alex’s original recipe, as well as the vibrant Spice “Green Machine” and “Magic” Mango salsa. Bright and flavorful, the hand-made salsas have grown increasingly popular, so much so that the Franks moved their operations to a commercial kitchen to keep up with the demand.
Like so many other budding culinary endeavors, JACK’s Salsa started over quarantine. “We were here at home with the kids and trying to maneuver through jobs, and I think we had just failed to make a grocery store run one day,” said Franks. With a few leftover tomatoes, onions, scallion and more, Alex decided to whip up some homemade salsa. “I tasted it, and it just blew my mind. I walked up to her and I was like, ‘man, we got to put this in the jar.’”
With no formal culinary training, the pair wasn’t sure where to start. “We come from nine-to-fives,” said Franks. After asking themselves questions like, “What does a salsa business look like? What are we going to call it? What [flavors] are we going to have?” Jordan and Alex decided to dive in head first. “We developed an idea and let everything else fall into place,” he said.
One year later, JACK’s Salsa is thriving, having become a mainstay at local farmers markets around the city. “You know, before selling salsa I probably could count on one hand how many farmers markets I have been to in our area,” said Franks.
Getting involved in the farmers market scene has proven an unexpected bonus to starting JACK’s. “We’re so embedded into the local scene here in St. Louis. We love interacting with people.”
Franks and his family have found a community amongst his fellow market vendors and frequenters. “Even though there’s a lot of weird kind of stuff going on in today’s world, I also think a lot of people share in the duty to support other people,” he said.
The most vocal of his supporters are, of course, JACK’s dedicated fans. The Franks have been overwhelmed with the positive reception they’ve received from their loyal customers, in-person and online. “We’ve been able to create something that people across demographics love and we’ve gotten just continuous positive feedback,” he said.
Though JACK’s remains local to St. Louis for now, Franks hopes to hit a “moonshot” and see his family’s salsa on shelves in every supermarket one day. In the meantime, he’s enjoying growing the business one Sassy salsa jar at a time, alongside his wife and kids. “You can really be yourself and just do things that you love,” he said, “And you can do it with the people that you love.”
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