Custard Stand Food Products owner Angie Cowger and Custard Stand Hot Dog Chili were featured Thursday, Oct. 23, on MarloThomas.com’s What’s Next site on Huffington Post.
“Our phones have been ringing and buzzing non-stop with congratulations and kudos from family and friends,” says Cowger. “We’re so grateful for the opportunity to share the story behind our success… and on the website of such an inspiring woman!”
Marlo Thomas is an award-winning actress (“That Girl”), author (including the landmark multi-media “Free To Be You and Me”) and activist whose body of work continues to have an impact on American entertainment and culture. She has been honored with four Emmy Awards, the Peabody, a Golden Globe, a Grammy and has been inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame. In 2010, she released her sixth book “Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny,” and launched MarloThomas.com.
“One of the reasons I started my website is that I wanted a place for women to come together and dream. We women need to know that we don’t have to hang on to an old dream that has stopped nurturing us — that there is always time to start a new dream,” says Marlo Thomas, in the intro to “A Small-Town Couple Turns A Secret Family Recipe Into A Supermarket Staple” by Lori Weiss.
“This week’s story is about an enterprising couple who used their resources to turn a secret family recipe into a million-dollar business,” Thomas writes. “Angie and Dee Cowger transformed their three bay car wash into a mini meat manufacturing plant and today, their famous chili is sold at hundreds of major stores around the country.”
Weiss’ report documents the family history around the chili, the Cowgers’ childhood connection to The Custard Stand, why they chose to stay in Webster Springs, and how a family recipe became a multimillion dollar business.
So, how did the reporter learn about Custard Stand Hot Dog Chili? It started with a vague email request from Cindy Martel, Marketing Specialist-International Trade & Agritourism with West Virginia Department of Agriculture. “Cindy said there was a media request for a story about women who had reinvented themselves or realized a dream such as bringing a product to market,” says Cowger, 47. The deadline? The next day. Cowger, whose nickname is The Chili Queen, learned long ago to trust her instincts and respond. “You never know what will happen.”
A few weeks later, an email rolled in from Weiss. The interview process began. And so did the process of collecting hundreds of photos to go in the 23-picture slideshow. “I had a blast looking back through our family photos and searching for one of Elsie’s Custard Stand,” says Cowger. “It was a great chance to really look back at what we have achieved… as a family, living in the town and state that I love.”
She’ll spend the next few days returning calls and emails. Cowger believes in following up. It’s the one-on-one connection that helped build Custard Stand Food Products and The Custard Stand franchises. “While it’s great to be recognized,” she says. “The thought that another woman or husband and wife might be inspired by our story and follow their dream … well, that’s simply priceless.”