From first taste, Lynn Wright knew her friend Denise Gordon should be bottling and selling her red pepper relish.
It took about seven years, but Gordon took Wright’s advice and on Dec. 1 they opened Household 6 Creations in the Marketplace at Steamtown. While the products Household 6 sells are mostly delicious dips and spreads — all Gordon’s family recipes — the business has a deeper mission to support veterans and military families.
The company’s name is derived from the military slang “I got your 6” or “I got your back.”
“At the Household we have your back,” said Gordon, whose son and husband both served in the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Originally from Maryland, Gordon and her husband, a Clarks Green native, moved from Baltimore back to the area when their son was young. She grew up canning — which is actually preserving foods in Mason jars — a process passed down from her great-grandmother to her grandmother to her.
“I have never not canned,” she said.
Wright, of Sterling, and Gordon, who is now retired, met while working for the state on Lackawanna Avenue in downtown Scranton. They felt it was fate that Household 6’s first brick and mortar location be next to where their friendship began, in the Marketplace at Steamtown.
Before opening in the marketplace, they sold and continue to sell their products packaged in large and small Mason jars wrapped in the company’s blue banner at craft shows across the region. They eventually moved from cooking in Gordon’s Lake Ariel kitchen to the business incubator in Carbondale.
From the industrial-size kitchen at Carbondale Technology Transfer Center, which they rent hourly, Gordon and Wright, along with their family members, work through the week to produce around 600 to 700 items.
“This has truly been a labor of love,” said Gordon.
They hope to expand into the Sterling Business Park and when that time comes, give preferential employment to military members and veterans, said Wright.
“It’s an important community to continue to support,” said Wright. “We want to help vets move in a forward direction,” added Gordon.
Gordon’s son and husband were deployed to Kuwait together. During that time, she served as a family readiness group leader for the National Guard and worked with kids whose parents were deployed.
Supporting families at home is as important as supporting troops abroad, they agreed.
“Both of us having a family history, we’re making sure we’re paying it forward,” said Gordon. Wright’s grandfather served during World War II as well as other family members. She’s also worked in social services for her entire career.
On Dec. 17, Household 6 officially opened for business in the Marketplace at Steamtown at a stand near the large floor to ceiling windows in the back of the former food court. They found during that weekend that having items out to sample really got people interested in their products.
“It’s an expense, but helps sell items,” said Wright.
They also collaborated with the other stands in the marketplace, using bread from Beta Bread and items from other stands for customers to test samples.
“Small businesses need to support small businesses,” said Gordon.
While at the marketplace and craft shows, they suggest ways for customers to eat their sauces and spreads.
It’s give and take; often their customers will share inventive ways to eat Household 6’s products, like spreading the roasted red pepper relish onto a piece of cucumber with cream cheese.
“It’s fun been talking to people who are passionate about food,” said Gordon.
Household 6 also sources much of their produce locally and in the future will work with local farmers, said Wright. They also hope to expand online and partner with local restaurants while finding unique opportunities to showcase their products, she added.
Household 6 also sells salsa — Gordon uses steamed tomatoes she harvests in the summer and adds in peppers, spices and sugars and cooks the mixture together — apple butter, corn and black bean salsa, pineapple jalapeño salsa, bread and butter pickles and mustard, among other items.
© 2018 The Times-Tribune (Scranton, Pa.)
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