From the Kansas City Business Journal - Although Spicin Foods' products are sold in 28 countries, its immediate goal is building market share in Kansas City.

The Kansas City, Kan.-based specialty food manufacturer, formerly known as Original Juan Specialty Foods, forged a deal with Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. (AWG) to make its products available to member stores. AWG, also based in Kansas City, Kan., is the nation's largest cooperative food wholesaler to independently-owned supermarkets. Its 1,000-plus member companies have more than 3,100 locations in 28 states. In the Kansas City market, more than 100 grocery stores carry AWG-branded products.

Spicin Foods’ products will start hitting local store shelves during the fourth quarter. Primary locations will include Cosentino's, Price Chopper, Sun Fresh Market and Hen House.

"We just haven't done a good job of getting out into the (Kansas City) market," Spicin Foods President Jeff Hinds told the Kansas City Business Journal. "We've got to own Kansas City. … I think you can never lose sight of where you came from before you move on to bigger and better things."

Bigger and better, however, doesn't mean leaving Kansas City, he stressed.

Spicin Foods' lineup includes drink mixes, salsa and barbecue and hot sauces. Although it's been featured in some local stores in the past, the product labels didn't tell the company's story, he said.

"They didn't really jump off the shelves," Hinds said.

So Spicin Foods has rebranded some items and updated the labels to make them pop. Its products target the premium category and use natural and organic ingredients that are non-GMO. A number of items also are gluten-free.

Through its AWG partnership, Spicin Foods will feature three product lines: a new line of premium salsas called Tradición, Pain is Good hot sauces and barbecue sauces, and American Stockyard's regional barbecue sauces that can satisfy transplants from other parts of the country.

Since joining Spicin Foods about two years ago, Hinds has made a number of executive hires, including adding sales executives Mark Romero and Mike Armstrong, who both previously worked with AWG through food manufacturing companies. They helped seal the new AWG partnership.

For Spicin Foods, the AWG partnership is powerful and could help it realize its vision of hitting more store shelves throughout the U.S. in places such as Arizona, Florida, Louisiana and Texas, he said. With AWG being an established and respected player in the industry, it could spur other companies to seize the opportunity to carry Spicin Foods’ products, he said.

The company has grown to 70 full-time employees, and Hinds plans to hire additional employees next year, including for executive roles. Spicin Foods is building out new production lines to bolster capacity for new and existing products. Although specific details are under wraps for now, Hinds said the company plans to introduce condiments next year that will be market disruptors. They’re going to have a Spicin Foods twist. It’s also working closely with "high-profile country music stars" on new sauces.

Hinds expects the company will double its revenue next year. "I'm so excited about our future," he said.