America’s SBDC Iowa is an outreach program of Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business and the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations. Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“People would want this. They would buy this!” was the recommendation from Jennifer Knox’s friend when she tried Jen’s spice blends for the first time. Little did Jen know just how true her friend’s statement was. In 2011, Jennifer debuted her herb blends as holiday gifts, which eventually were sold in farmers’ markets in Brooklyn, New York. In 2014 she moved to Nevada, Iowa and officially opened Saltlickers, LLC.
Saltlickers is an innovative business that offers a variety of herb and spice blends made from locally-sourced ingredients. Quality is key, as all their products are made without preservatives, gluten, soy, or dairy.
The relationship between Saltlickers and their customers distinguishes them from other businesses, as the avenues they sell their products in allow them to interact with their consumers in a more personal way. Through farmers’ markets, workshops, and even online photo contests, Jen and her co-owner and husband, Collin Switzer, excel in making their business enjoyable, community-oriented, and all about their biggest fans. Saltlickers’ very loyal customers play a huge role in the company’s success.
In 2014, Jennifer reached out to the Iowa State University SBDC. She was connected with Ted Bair. “I was so glad that we contacted Ted,” said Jen. “He made a huge difference and gave good insight for our business, especially because Collin and I have never owned a business before.”
As a result of the assistance received from the SBDC, Jen and Collin rethought their product packaging. Ted’s advice also gave them a better handle on their finances so they could produce their products more cost-effectively.
In 2021, Saltlickers reached out to the ISU SBDC again and were connected with current Regional Director, Dave Biedenbach, to work on both marketing strategies and the creation of a database. Tracking ingredients and finished products for quality control purposes was a crucial step in the business. Marketing strategies for pricing custom blends and enhancing their website and e-commerce platform were also vital to the company.
In the future, Jen and Collin plan on producing more interesting flavors and devoting time to creating custom blends for events such as weddings.
Saltlickers’ products can be found at local farmers’ markets, Wheatsfield Co-op Grocery in Ames, Gateway Market in Des Moines, and online at http://www.salt-lickers.com. For more information on this unique and fun Nevada, Iowa business, check out Saltlickers’ website above or its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/saltlickers.