Date: July 29, 2009
About: Russ Reed - Class of 1959
Man Relives Childhood in Business
Five years ago, Russ Reed decided to transform his hobby into a successful business venture, as he formed Old Nauvoo Jam in Hurricane, drawing upon inherited family recipes and his passion for unique flavors.
The company has grown substantially since 2004, Reed said, as he currently supplies jams and jellies to 85 stores in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada.
Despite the Old Nauvoo Jam's impressive growth, the company's production facility remains a log cabin, serving as a symbol of Reed's work ethic, as no machinery is used in the creation or packaging of the company's natural products, he said. "It is a handcrafted jam," Reed said. "Everything we do, we do by hand."
With a unique blend of original creations, including pepper pomegranate jelly, and recipes for traditional jams passed down from his great-great-grandmother, Reed said his company's success comes as a result of superior taste. "We make as good a jam as anyone in the country," he said. The company uses real fruit from Utah and several other states in its products.
Greg Gibson, the manager of Lin's Marketplace in Hurricane, said Old Nauvoo jam is a popular product among local shoppers and Reed often visits the store to provide free samples and promote his business. "He sells a lot of it," Gibson said of Reed. "It has great flavor."
Trevor Gardner, an assistant manager for Harmons grocery store in St. George, also underscored the popularity of Reed's jams and jellies. "It is a great product," he said.
While his company continues to gain popularity, creating jams and jellies is much more than a business for Reed. For him, preparing the products often rekindles fond childhood memories of making jam with his mother in a town south of Nauvoo, Ill.
After spending years working in the advertising and marketing world, Reed, 68, said his fiance, now his wife, inspired him to move to Southern Utah and eventually start a small business. "I met the love of my life," Reed said of his motivation to relocate from northern Utah.
Looking toward the company's future, Reed said he hopes to develop new products, adding to the company's selection of 11 jams and jellies, and possibly expand to the California market. "We just want to continue making good, high-quality products," he said.
The future is rife with potential for Old Nauvoo Jam, he said as the company has proven resilient through difficult economic times. "It is nice to have a profitable hobby," Reed said. He plans to continue crafting natural jams for another 10 years.
For more information about Old Nauvoo Jam, call 435-632-3372 or email Russ Reed at email@example.com.