Souper Kids products ending

Siblings grow up running successful foodstuffs business during holidays

Jennie Jessup unloads some of her dried foods at Holy Family School to sell at a craft fair.

A part-time job is not an unusual means to finance college tuition.

But not many high school students can say a portion of the profits from their successful business will cover their higher-education bills.

It’s almost unbelievable anyone could have a hand in a business operation at 5 years old, but Jenny Jessup, a 17-year-old senior at Grand Junction High School, and her family have run a seasonal food business for 12 years. The Jessups have sold Souper Kids, a collection of soup and sauce mixes, fudges and other goodies, every holiday season at area craft fairs.

However, this will be the final year for Souper Kids. Jessup will leave for college next year around the time the business would be starting up, so the family is calling it quits.

“I don’t know how this happened,” Jessup said of the business’s popularity. “This started out as my brother’s school project.”

Jessup said her older brother was home-schooled in eighth grade and thought creating and selling food mixes would be a “good idea.” Souper Kids started out simple with soup mixes and jams, Jessup said. But her mother, Fran, is a dietician and helped craft new recipes and products, she said.

“These recipes were created at our kitchen table,” Jessup said. “We were the guinea pig taste testers.”

Jessup said she has gotten a crash course in areas such as business management, marketing, public speaking and money handling over the years as the business passed from her eldest brother to her other brother and finally to her.

This year, Jessup said, she changed her sales pitch in the wake of a faltering national economy to emphasize stretching dollars by getting a “homemade touch.” The soups can feed 10 to 12 people, she said, and three of the mixes cost $13.

Souper Kids customers are disappointed to hear the business is ending after this holiday season, Jessup said, but it’s time for her to focus on college.

“This closes an era, and I’ll miss it in that my husband and I will be empty-nesters,” Fran Jessup said.
“But this really is a big production.”

The Jessups had begun producing their mixes in the commercially licensed kitchen at their home every August. Jenny Jessup said every spare moment has gone into the business.

Ten percent of Souper Kids’ profits go to tithing, Jenny Jessup said.

“It’s important to give back when we’ve been blessed in this way,” she said.

Souper Kids products will be available at a Thanksgiving weekend craft fair at Two Rivers Convention Center as well as fairs in Parachute and Delta after Thanksgiving. The Two Rivers fair will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Nov. 28 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 29.


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