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Through Fayetteville Flyer’s Only in Arkansas series, we’ve taken snapshots of several growing companies at various stages of their development, from the recent, rapid expansion of Slim Chickens, to the success Oh Baby Foods has found in being nationally distributed through Whole Foods Market.
But to this point, we haven’t really examined a business in the true startup phase of development.
And though Fayetteville-based Gunderpickles is operating on a much smaller scale now than some of the businesses we’ve profiled, the one-man show founded by Garrett Gunderson has no less potential than the rest.
If you’ve ever tasted one of Garrett’s pickled cucumbers or green beans, you know exactly what we mean.
Gunderpickles didn’t get its start as a company until 2012, but the recipe behind the product has been passed down through the Gunderson family for generations.
The 100-year-old recipe, created by Gunderson’s great grandmother wasn’t written down, per se, but was orally translated through the family and perfected through literally decades of repetition.
“Growing up, we always made pickles at home,” Gunderson said. “It was just kind of the thing to do in the summertime.”
One of his neighbors, who knew of Gunderson’s penchant for pickle making, asked Garrett to make a few jars as holiday gifts for his family a few years ago. Those jars, once the family tasted them, led to more requests, and it wasn’t long before Gunderson realized he was onto something.
“It just kind of snowballed from there,” he said.
After the response he got from friends and family, Gunderson started making pickles by the case, and keeping them behind the bar at Mickey Finn’s where he works as a bartender.
His best-selling products are fresh-sliced cucumber pickles, though he’s also made more traditional pickle spears, pickled green beans, asparagus, sauerkraut, and other items.
He began selling the jars for $10 each, and the more people tasted them, the more his bar customers were asking for them.
“It got to the point that I was taking cases up there twice a week,” he said. “But I started feeling bad having people stop by at 8 p.m. on Tuesday night just to get pickles. I realized that isn’t convenient for everyone.”
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