In A Nutshell
Spice of Life Mixes is now the online brand of Lighthouse Creations, which sells and samples mixes for dips, desserts, salsas, spiced ketchup and more at festivals of various types. Rather than maintain separate websites, lighthousecreatios.com now forwards directly to this website. Same mixes. Same content, but organized to make it a lot easier to find what you want. Read on for more info, and look for us at the festivals identified on the home page.
How We Got Started
In May 2000 we opened a small restaurant in Stafford, VA, Lighthouse Restaurant. We served breakfast, lunch and dinner. We prepared meals the way we like them, with bold flavors, in generous portions, inspired by our favorite foods, and with lots of choices.
Besides the regular menu items, we offered chorizo and polish sausage and eggs for breakfast, frittatas and mimosas for Sunday Brunch, prime rib or meatloaf for dinner, cream of crab soup and lots of fresh salads any time, just to give you an idea of what we liked. We also offered over 10 kinds of jams and jellies with breakfast toast, plus apple butter, peach butter, cherry butter and pumpkin butter. We offered over 5 home made salad dressings, some of which we now offer as mixes. In the morning we provided every table with a basket of home baked muffins, and at dinner we offered one of 4 crocks of cheese with crackers to nibble on while waiting for the meal to be served.
We’d never worked so hard in our whole lives, and we loved it all. In the 2 years we were open, 7 new restaurants opened within a few miles. We had loyal customers and good margins, but we didn’t have enough volume to be profitable, so, sadly, we closed the restaurant.
However, we were hooked on preparing and introducing foods with interesting flavors, and the people you meet doing so. Within a year of closing the restaurant we started looking for another way to satisfy that itch. We decided to enter a chili cook-off, but at the last minute the local Health Department decided that only food prepared in an inspected commercial kitchen could be entered. So we looked at other options. We wanted something that didn’t have regular hours and didn’t require a large capital investment. We settled on packaged mixes that we could sell at craft shows or other events. Because of our love of interesting flavors, we had to be able to offer samples, and these events offered exactly that opportunity. So we registered with the VA Dept. of Agriculture, got inspected, and started working on dip, dressing, quick bread and soup mixes based on some of the most popular dishes at the restaurant. We named this business Lighthouse Creations, to take advantage of our positive restaurant reputation (we still see many restaurant customers at our booth). The mixes sold amazingly well.
Where We Are Now
Fifteen years later we continue to love what we’re doing, the people we meet doing so, and have a broad line of versatile mixes that still are not the usual flavors. They continue to sell amazingly well, but we now sell mostly at wine and beer festivals; they have the most civilized starting times, and people who attend are actively interested in foods that pair well with these beverages. We’ve had an active online presence for Lighthouse Creations for several years, but mostly to provide a way for customers to order from us between events.
Online sales of food products have grown dramatically in the past few years, particularly for specialty foods. Online food sales are driven both by convenience and the opportunity to buy products not available locally. We believe the market is getting large enough to support direct online sales, not limited to our existing customers. Marketing is expensive, so we wanted a name for our online brand that specifically said what we are about. We therefore created Spice of Life Mixes, which is the online brand of Lighthouse Creations. We still keep lighthousecreations.com for our existing event customers, but it forwards to spiceoflifemixes.com. We have all the same products, pictures, recipes, serving suggestions and policies. We will continue selling at events as Lighthouse Creations, and inviting anyone one in the area of the events to taste Spice of Life Mixes samples at the Lighthouse Creations booth.
If you’ve tasted and purchased our products at events, this is still an easy way to re-order. If not, we hope you will be intrigued enough seek us out at events or purchase online. Either way, we hope you will introduce us to your friends, and we are grateful for your interest.
Penny & Andy Cunningham