For years, whenever Baden and Patty Gilmore would serve their special guacamole recipe to guests, they always got the same response: You guys should sell this stuff.
They finally listened. Now, the Rocklin couple have found success with an avocado and corn dip called Guacamania. It’s creamy, crunchy and mildly sweet with a touch of spicy heat that’s suitable for kids and adults alike.
Guacamania is taking off. The Gilmores’ lone product is now in more than 50 grocery stores in California and Nevada, including Raley’s, Bel Air and Nob Hill. It also can be found in more than a dozen area bars, most notably at Boneshakers Public House in Rocklin.
Patty, who grew up on a Newcastle fruit farm, had long been an avid cook and enthusiastic recipe tinkerer, always willing to try new combinations of ingredients. But one recipe endured and continued to impress the couple’s friends.
“We’ve been making this for over 17 years,” she said. “We would cook for our friends and try new things. We ran across recipes and tweaked them along the way. With this, everybody got excited about it.”
“I would beg Patty to make it. I loved it,” Baden added. “When the economy turned upside down, it sort of presented itself. We said we should take things into our own hands.”
The Gilmores wanted to go to market with a snack that was both tasty and nutritious. They soon learned that kids liked it as much as their parents. They launched the venture in February 2012 and to their surprise found success almost immediately.
They took it to Raley’s for a tasting, thinking it would be a long shot simply to get an appointment. The supermarket chain would end up placing an order. It turns out Raley’s was looking for unique, locally made products. But the company, with 120 stores, was also sizing up the Gilmores – and the couple impressed.
“We did a few demos and it did extremely well,” said Larry Tucker, a Raley’s category manager. “We’re always looking for something different, and it has a unique flavor profile. But it wouldn’t have worked unless the (Gilmores) were 110 percent committed. They are very energetic people.”
Initially, the Gilmores struggled to keep up with production demands. “We were doing 14-hour days,” said Baden, who worked in the high-tech field before starting Gilmore Foods with his wife. “We were so busy making it, everything was a blur.”
The problem was capacity. They could only make 50 pounds of Guacamania a day. They soon decided they needed to outsource their recipe with a food manufacturer. Their product was off the shelves for six weeks until they got up to speed.
Patty says that what makes Guacamania special is the fusion of flavors that elevates it above the ubiquitous guacamole. Guacamania, they say, is also versatile. It’s good as a dip, as a spread for sandwiches and as a key ingredient for an omelet. An 8-ounce package of Guacamania retails for $4.49. (It’s on sale through Oct. 24 at Raley’s for $2.99.)
With the big deal from Raley’s, the couple are now able to look at their next step – and their next product.
“For now, we’re concentrating on this one, but we’re throwing around some ideas and looking at development,” Baden said.