The CaJohns Story: From Fire Protection to Fire Starting
CaJohns Fiery Foods got its start in 1996. John Hard, a Fire Protection Engineer by trade, had a passion for hot & spicy food. Fired by many trips to the Gulf Coast and Southwest to work on various fire protection projects. He fell enamored with the local cuisine. Sue, his wife, was raised on the Mississippi Coast. Frequent visits to her parents led to many treks to New Orleans some 60 miles to the west. Here John could load-up on all the ingredients he needed to satisfy his hot & spicy tastes.
John would prepare food for outings and get-togethers for family and friends, introducing them to the real Cajun style of eating (hot/spicy with flavor) rather than Corporate Restaurant America’s version (burn you up). His love of Tex-Mex and New Mexican cooking also developed many a Central-Ohio fan. Soon John had to start mail ordering his needs to the vendors in Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico. Then it dawned on him, why not set up a store in Columbus that would make these necessities readily available to him and others.
That was just the beginning. John opened CaJohns Fiery Foods and went to the Fiery Foods Show in Albuquerque, New Mexico to expand his retail offering of products. CaJohn had dreamed of a line of products made from his recipes, but his initial inquiries revealed that a run of 250-500 cases was necessary to get started. That seemed to be an over-whelming amount of product for a start-up company. While in New Mexico, he met a packager from Indiana, who shared his passion for hot and spicy. The packer told him his dream could be reality, and in 1999, the Legend was born. In 2002, CaJohn opened his own manufacturing facility to better control the manufacturing of his products. In mid-2004, John sold the 60 year old Fire Protection business, now he could devote himself full-time to his passion.
Hot Spots hot sauce was the first of the products from CaJohns. The concept of Dalmatians with a single pepper spot, and the name, was the idea of daughter Erin. Her brother Nathan loves chicken wings, so Nate Dog’s Killer Wing Sauce was soon to follow. CaBoom! replaced a self-titled CaJohns line of products including salsas, hot sauces, barbecue sauce, taco mix and chili mix. The whole family is now involved in this specialty food business.
CaJohn’s line of specialty food products now total over 150 offerings. Salsas, Hot Sauce, barbecue sauce, rubs, spice blends, mixes and mustards make up the line. Cajun, Southwestern, Asian and Caribbean cuisines are all represented. All-natural and preservative free, carefully prepared in small batches, and monitored to insure a high level of quality and a consistent taste. Only the finest of ingredients are used. In fact, CaJohn processes fresh chiles every fall to use exclusively in his products. He refuses to use commercial pepper mash loaded with salt. This is only one of the reasons CaJohns products have fared very well in national competition, garnering over 200 international, national and regional awards. CaJohn guarantees customer satisfaction with all of his products. Taste the CaJohns Difference!