Hot Profits

Susanne Hilou Is mad about peppers. While growing up in Palestine, Texas, Susanne and her mom used to spread homemade Jalapeno Jelly on saltine crackers when company came to call. Now, the duo is selling the fiery-sweet green stuff, along with hot and sweet jalapeno peppers, com relish and marinated black beans under the name Taste Teasers. After selling over 100 Jars of peppers and corn relish at last fall’s Palestine Hot Chill Pepper Festival, Susanne knew she was onto something hot. Tired of crunching numbers, the 30-year-old ex-Investment broker decided to get a taste of the food business. “It was kind of tough to give up my stockbroker’s license, but I decided to put the money Into peddling peppers Instead,” she says, laughing. With her mom’s recipes and $2,500 from her savings, Susanne was in business. Now, less than a year later, the Dallas-based company Is already showing a profit. Susanne oversees the operation here while her mother works on developing now products back home In Palestine. “Seeing |an of Taste Teasers on the grocery shelves next to Del Monte and Heinz is the best part of this business. It’s a real ego trip,” she says.

Taste Teasers products are available atselected Tom Thumb stores, as well asSimon David stores and Ralph’s FineFoods. For gift baskets (which can besent anywhere in the world), call458-2873. -Ellise Gunnell

A Modern Day Trading Post

Bearing Guatemalan peasant trunks, Nigerian baskets and Peruvian glazed pots, traders journey to Deep Ellum to peddle their wares. Vans and jet engines have replaced camels and sails, but these nomads still live the life of those on the ancient Spice Route-Articles is one of their trading posts.

John Galling drives and walks to the remote Indian villages of Guatamala to bargain for dyed woolen blankets, bright wooden trunks and hand-carved painted animals. One spring day he and his wife Ruth arrive at Articles with their treasures. As they pile them into a corner of the store for inspection, owners Chris and Lisa Jenkinson (above) stand back for a moment to admire the blues, greens and yellows of Guatemala.

Walking around the store is like a trip around the world. Tin toys from China sit temptingly, waiting to be wound up. Paper-thin shadow puppets from India hang near a frighteningly fanged temple mask of Bali. The smell of incense adds to the bazaar atmosphere. Lisa Jenkinson tells of one Nigerian trader who sells only baskets and doesn’t speak much English. “He just showed up on our doorstep one day and said ’I have some baskets,’” she says. 2616 Elm St., 748-3420.

-Elizabeth Robbins


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