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Entrepreneur Retired Couple Travels While Selling Lasagna Sauce Straight From Italy

Entrepreneur Retired Couple Travels While Selling Lasagna Sauce Straight From Italy

By Frances Gonzalez-Boyd

 

 

 

A couple that works together might enjoy each other longer when they are traveling all over the country in an RV, and making money selling an authentic tasting product. When some people retire, they decide to buy an RV trailer to travel or they park it somewhere along the coast, relaxing while they soak in the sun. The RV trailer that David and Laurie Fanelli own is where they lay their head at night at the scheduled location where they will be setting up to show their product. Laurie was a Dental Assistant for fifteen years and David was a Deputy Sheriff and former Marine. They lived in Ratan, Mexico when they met at a rodeo dance. David made the first move to ask his best friend, Laurie’s brother, to introduce them. Six weeks later they were married, and have been for thirty-three years. They have four children, Travis, 32, Jason, 30, Charity, 29, and Christian, 26. They also have eight grandchildren. The Fanelli’s product is a sauce that is the only one like it in a jar. {{more}} It is unique and the only with special ingredients passed on from three generations in David’s family directly from a great-great-grandmother, Viola, who lived in Sicily, Italy and loved to cook. The product is lasagna sauce in a jar. The sellers are a retired couple. The Fanelli’s never thought they would take a likening for an entrepreneur career. The name of their business is Fanelli’s Finest. Last month, they were in Abilene at the United Supermarkets on South 14th St. sharing their delicious tasting lasagna that they make while on location and served samples to the customers. What made this couple want to get into a lasagna sauce business? “Our kids wanted to share it with everyone. They wanted to get it on the market, and the way it taste at home. Anyway, they sure enough did it,” said David. According to David, he started cooking when he was four years old in his Grandma’s kitchen. Why is it different from any other sauce? “It is all natural with no sugar, no after taste, and no additives. The simplicity of it, and the solidity of the sauce and how easy it is to make lasagna,” said Laurie. “I told myself, ‘If I could jar it the way I made it at home, I would.’ Like I told my niece, during the depression, people started using their ideas and brought the economy back.” It was the Fanelli children who motivated their parents to go out on the road after retiring to sell the lasagna sauce they liked so much at home. Carolyn, the Fanelli’s oldest daughter is the Chief Financial Officer of the business. It took three years for the product to go through the stages before getting into the market. It has now been in the market for eight months. According to Laurie, a place had to be found to market the sauce, and they had to get a special license from the FDA to approve it. The Fanelli’s did not have the money to start a business, but they had heard about West Texas University Enterprise Challenge in Amarillo, Texas. They came up with their business idea, and entered the Challenge. They were chosen as one of four recipients who won for their unique business plan. They won $50,000 start up seed money for their business, and had a counselor that worked with them, taking them through each step to get to the final stage. They also had to wait for a distributor which keeps the sauce for their business, and where the orders come from. The store takes the orders and they come directly to the store where customers pick them up. That is where the jars are vacuum packed and shipped. To those couples out there that want to open a business, the Fanelli’s share this advice, “I would tell them to jump in with both feet and never look back,” said David. “If you have an idea, go for it.” From Abilene, the Fanelli’s were headed down the road for more adventures, and meeting people. “You meet lots of people and see lots of places. The company pays for fuel and RV space. We are going in our camper next to Dallas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.” The couple lives in Amarillo where they set the foundation for their business.