The annual Grow-NY business competition has food and ag start-ups from around the world competing for $3 million in prize money.
Craft Cannery in Genesee County is one of the 20 finalists. Owner Pauly Guglielmo‘s homegrown family sauce business was going so good, he bought the Bergen production facility to not only bottle his own, he helps other local businesses do the same.
“This is everything we make right here,” Pauly Guglielmo said. “It is really cool because we have some cool local brands that you undoubtedly know and have heard of like Sticky Lips and Agatina’s. It’s wonderful stuff and there is plenty of small stuff that you haven’t heard of.”
His team is filling some 30 bottles a minute. These are local brands of salsa, hot sauce and of course pasta sauce. He is a co-packer for some and for others he helps create the recipe.
“The more local businesses the better and the more money that circulates around Rochester the better," said Gugliemo.
After Guglielmo was invited to the Grow-NY tradeshow he saw businesses pitch to win millions of dollars in the contest, so he started to dream. What if? So, he went for it, applied and now Craft Cannery is a 2022 Grow-NY finalist.
“I was actually on the phone with my wife talking about literally what are we having for dinner tonight and do you have the “bleep” function on Spectrum News? I say holy —- let me read you this email that we got and it was a notification that we were chosen as a finalist. The top 20 out of 400 applicants,” laughed Guglielmo.
What started with 30 clients has grown to 90. Chances are you’re dipping your chips or topping your salad or tossing your pasta in something that was bottled right in Bergen.
Since 2019, Grow New York has awarded prize money to 21 companies. The 2022 winners will be announced on November 15 and 16. The grand prize winner will take home $1 million, two second-place winners will receive $500,000 and four companies will be awarded $250,000 each.