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[LOCAL TALENT]

by Daniel Schere

KISSIE STROUP-SALAD DRESSER

What began as a practice learned from her family years ago has now turned into a locally famous culinary enterprise for Kissie Stroup.

Stroup is the owner of Little Black Dressing Company, which is located in High Point. The company was just named one of the finalists in Martha Stewart’s American Made competition “” an annual event that celebrates locally produced items. Stroup decided to enter on a whim.

“I said you know it’s free, I’ll do it,” she said. “And it makes a nice little page, it’s really pretty. So I did it and didn’t think much about it except, maybe somebody will see that maybe a buyer somewhere else will grab a hold of it somewhere else and see the promise of my product, and about five days later I heard that I had made finalist.”

Stroup, a self-described foodie, grew up in a house where her mother and grandmother kept an organic garden and didn’t dare rely on a grocery store for the fixins.

“We never ate anything out of a bottle except for maybe ketchup,” she said. “We never had bottled salad dressings, they were homemade. And when I raised my family and started having kids, I realized I didn’t really like what was on the shelf, because I guess I was spoiled.”

Stroup majored in graphic design when she was in college but has spent most of her career in the restaurant and catering industries. Before she started the business, she had been making her own dressing for years.

” My friends would ask for it, I would put it in bottles or jars they would give me and send it on,” she said. “And then I started selling it, kind of, and finally my husband said if you’re going to spend that much time on it you need to put your logo on it, and put it in a bottle and sell it.”

And a booming business was born. Since then, Stroup’s dressings have been sold in more than 40 stores around the state. She has also had her dressing featured at the U.S. Open in Pinehurst. She has done it all while being a mother of four.

“If you asked me five years ago if I’d be producing food and selling bottles of dressing in grocery stores and small specialty stores and restaurants and caterers, I’d probably tell you that you were crazy,” she said. “I was raising four children, had no thought about doing this.”

Stroup finds out the results of the contest October 15, but says even if she doesn’t win the grand prize, she’ll take being in the spotlight any day.

“It’s nice to see that someone like her who’s so well-known would see promise in something that I would do,” she said. !

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