His product puts Spice in your life
Michael Ferguson is best known as a successful CPA, providing tax and accounting services to Bay Area small businesses and taxpayers for over 30 years. Today, though, you’re just as likely to find him pitching a seasoning spice to local grocery stores and specialty shops. If you shop at Farmer Joe’s, Galvin’s Market or several other neighborhood stores, you may even get to sample delectable grilled chicken morsels or vegetables, prepared with his increasingly popular Secret Spice.
It all started when Ferguson was a newlywed, and had begun experimenting with his brand new barbecue cooker. He was pretty proud of his first attempts, and became even better when a new neighbor offered to show him a few tips to improve his grilling. He taught him the basics of proper fire intensity, cooking with woods, and introduced him to various sauces. Although he became pretty proficient in his grilling and barbecue techniques, he noticed he never could attain the taste and quality of his friend’s cooking. Whenever he asked him why his was so much better, his friend always answered “it’s a secret”.
He finally got a break several years later, when his friend moved to Georgia to his wife’s birthplace, where her family had lived for several generations. There Ferguson learned the story of her father, known to fellow residents in Thomaston, Georgia as Red. Everyone there considered Red the premier cook of the area, who had a special secret he used in all of his cooking. After several visits, and much pleading, Ferguson was finally introduced to the recipe for a unique seasoning, that had been passed down from generation to generation.
After using the seasoning, he jumped immediately to star status. Over the next twenty years or so, he would make the spice for friends and family, but carefully safeguarded the recipe. Over time, it became known as Secret Spice. Much like the Famous Amos story, everyone encouraged him to market the secret. Finally, he took the idea seriously, and began researching how to produce and market a seasoning. It proved to be a slow, laborious and costly process, but Secret Spice is now being enthusiastically received by home chefs in the Bay Area, Houston and Las Vegas.
It’s been a family affair from the very beginning. Ferguson’s family and friends helped to blend and package the product in his kitchen. His daughter designed the logo with the Secret Spice character. His son and one of his friends were instrumental in getting the product placed in local stores and began doing cooking demonstrations that proved to be great in introducing the product to new consumers.
His first major break came through a friend, Larry Wade, who, shortly after moving to Texas, was listening to a radio talk show, which offered free marketing consultations for business startups. Through that contact with Drake Marketing, he was able to obtain some free advertising and publicity, and to introduce the seasoning to several consumers who became loyal customers.
Ferguson’s goal was to get the product placed in the large supermarket chains, but that was not an easy thing to do. He first found a spice blending company in the Houston area, and from there had to make some crucial decisions on perfecting the blend. He ended up with changing the recipe so that the product was low in sodium and all natural with no preservatives.
Secret Spice is now in HEB, a major Texas supermarket chain, and is featured in six other Texas stores. It is also in 18 stores in the Bay Area, and is available for purchase on the internet at the Secret Spice website at www.secretspiceseasoning.com where a video introduces home chefs to the Secret Spice story and to some of the more popular recipes for using the spice.
It won’t be long before the Secret Spice brand will be enjoyed by home chefs all over the west and southwest. Ask for it at your local grocer’s.