Two local companies are heating up the market thanks to a boost from a popular grocery chain

TAMPA, Fla. -

Some small businesses in Tampa are beginning to dream big after getting a boost from the popular grocery chain, Whole Foods.


"We had no idea there was as much demand out there as there actually was," Dave Ward said. He and his wife own Buddy Brew Coffee in Tampa.


Demand for their coffee has been brewing since 2010. That's when they served their first cup of joe at their Kennedy Boulevard location. "Were a grassroots, word of mouth kind of place," Ward said.


Word-of-mouth that caught the attention of a department manager at  Whole Foods. "He said, 'Listen, I get asked every single day why don't you have Buddy Brew. It's to the point where it's driving me insane. I'm going to get you into Whole Foods,'" Ward said.


And he did. In late December Buddy Brew started showing up on store shelves at Whole Foods in Tampa and Orlando. "They're already super popular products," Anna Payne of Whole Foods said.


But it's not only Buddy Brew that's found success, another local product, Cigar City Smoked Salsa, has also made its way onto shelves. "We were overwhelmed, but we were also hoping for something like that. That's the break that you need," Co-Owner of Cigar City Smoked Salsa Ty Rodriguez said.


That break has landed the salsa in both Tampa and Orlando stores as well, and so far, the demand for both products seems to be high. 


"I know that we're going through probably about somewhere around 100 cases at all the different locations," said Rodriguez.


 "It's gone wild. They're reordering like crazy," said Ward.


As sales continue to grow, so do locations. Whole Foods plans to expand Buddy Brew and Cigar City to 20 stores nationwide in the near future, introducing these local entrepreneurs to a whole new customer base.

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