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Local honey startup lands sweet deal with Publix, other food retailers

Posted at 12:40 PM, Jul 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-24 12:40:19-04

RICHMOND, Va. — After a fiery launch late last year, a local food startup is turning up the heat as it rebrands and expands its products and distribution.

Ames’ Hot Southern Honey, now AR’s Hot Southern Honey, recently signed a deal to be in all 12 Publix grocery stores in the Richmond area, with more products on the way.

The company began bottling its chili pepper-infused honey in late 2016 and quickly found its way around town, landing on the shelves of Union Market, Libbie Market and Outpost. It’s now sold at 60 retail stores across the state.

Founder and company namesake Ames Russell said he’s also selling in bulk to local restaurants including Savory Grain, The Boathouse at Short Pump and Superstars Pizza for use in menu items.

“I’ve heard from lots of food retailers throughout the Southeast and Midwest looking for new and different food items for their fourth quarter holiday sales. I just shipped my first wholesale out-of-state to Pigeon Forge in Tennessee,” Russell said.

Russell’s honey was born in his kitchen as a gift for friends and quickly spilled over into a kitchen in the city’s West End. He said he’ll soon outgrow that space.

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