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Local Businesses Gather At Homegrown Experience

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- By now, it's clear the gyrating stock market has caused a crisis in confidence on the part of investors but how about consumers?

With talk of a looming recession, small business owners are left to wonder if buyers continue to buy? Several of Minnesota's business owners gathered today at the second annual "Homegrown Experience" -- an event focused on local, organic and sustainable foods sold in the Twin Cities metro area.

From pie in a glass to habanero peppers in popcorn, these Minnesota small business owners are coming up with products you just won't find at your local store.

Part of the homegrown experience is knowing where your food comes from. 

"When you sit down at supper that it's this is where my beef came from, this is, you know, where everything came from," said Tom Smude, a farmer in Pierz, Minn.

Smude stumbled upon his business plan after falling short on payments while standing in a grocery aisle.

"It said, 'Olive oil, olive oil, corn oil, canola oil,' there was no sunflower oil," he said.

A year-and-a-half later, with some hard sales pitches, like half the saturated fat as olive oil, Smude's business is growing.

He's hoping fears of a looming recession turn out to be nothing but that -- fears.

"How we're growing now and if we can come through this, it'll be unbelievable in three, four, five years from now," Smude said.

He believes his saving grace is that pervasive "Minnesota Nice."

"It's helping our community, it's helping our economy," said Homegrown Experience visitor Bethany Staher.

Smude said he doesn't believe his business would've survived five years ago. But he said he's noticed a recent surge in commitment to buying local.

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