NEW HAVEN — Allen County is the new home of a startup run by a husband-and-wife team. Dell Cove Spices & More Co., a gourmet popcorn and popcorn seasoning business, on June 10 announced plans are well underway to relocate the company from Chicago to New Haven, Greater Fort Wayne, Inc. announced. The company's co-owners expect to scale up quickly, adding up to 50 new jobs and investing up to $233,000 by the end of 2024.
Dell Cove uses certified-organic spices, sugars, and sea salts to produce gourmet and gluten-free popcorn seasonings, and works with farmers across the Midwest to sustainably grow different popcorn varieties for unique food gift sets. The company recently started a line of digital products, enabling consumers, retail businesses, and event coordinators to host popcorn bars and stations at home and during special events.
"New Haven is the perfect place for us to grow the company," Dell Cove co-owner David Beets said in the news release. "It puts us much closer physically to some of the popcorn farmers in Indiana and Ohio, with whom we want to work. The fact that the city is also a major transportation hub makes it fairly simple for us to be able to bring in raw materials and helps lower freight costs."
Dell Cove was founded in 2010 by then-newlyweds David and Patricia Beets. Patricia's job in journalism was transferred from Chicago to California, making it a long-distance relationship as David maintained his engineering job in the Midwest. While David, a U.S. Army veteran, looked for jobs in California, the couple stayed connected by cooking meals "together" via Skype. They also began making edible gifts for loved ones. At a friend's suggestion, they began selling their infused sugars, salts, and organic spice mixes online.
As business picked up, the couple reunited in Chicago, creating, blending, and packaging their products by hand. By 2012, David quit his engineering job to run the business full time out of the company’s commercial kitchen.
Food is a tradition in both of their families; David's grandmother made homegrown juices and jellies, while Patricia comes from a long line of Iowa farmers.
"This move made sense both for business and personal reasons,” David Beets said in the release. “I grew up in Fort Wayne and still have friends and family here. Every time I would come back here to visit, this whole area seemed to keep growing and growing— and we wanted to be part of that growth. It felt like a perfect time to come home.”
Dell Cove plans to launch a new recycling program this summer in conjunction with a local biofuel company. Through this program, recycled packaging will be converted into an ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel that can be used by farmers to run their tractors and other farm equipment.
The company has moved into a 7,000-square-foot space at 1221 Hartzell St. in New Haven and will scale up there, installing warehouse and computer equipment and photography studio supplies, labeling equipment, and a laser-etching machine to customize glass jars. Dell Cove plans to hire up to 50 new employees in sales, warehousing, and shipping positions beginning this fall. Interested applicants can learn more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Indiana's entrepreneurial community is supportive, innovative and growing,” Interim Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Staton said in the release. “With their persistence and entrepreneurial spirit, small businesses like Dell Cove Spices & More continue to drive Indiana’s economy forward and create more career opportunities for Hoosiers.”
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Dell Cove up to $255,000 in conditional tax credits, based on the company's job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired. Northeast Indiana Works will provide the company with additional hiring and training assistance.
“We are proud to welcome Dell Cove to our community,” New Haven Mayor Steve McMichael said in the release. “We have worked very hard to make New Haven an outstanding place to live, work, play, and run a business, and we look forward to working with the Dell Cove team for years to come.”