Our Cedar Hill Seasonings Story
Click here for Our Vision, Our Mission, and 12 Values
Cedar Hill Seasonings was founded in 1986 as a labor of love by Helen and Felicia Schaefer. The following is our story.
Felix, Helen’s husband and Felicia’s dad, was a chef de Cuisine. Felix possessed amazingly discerning tastes. He was able to differentiate between subtle seasoning differences in complex dishes. Felix taught us this skill also, which resulted in all of us loving to produces creative dishes and inspired us to open and run several restaurants. The last food business was a delicatessen/catering service which we successfully ran for about 10 years. Our beloved husband and father died of a heart attack in 1979. Afterwards, the toll of running a family business without him combined with the extremely long hours were too much and we sold the business. We then took a hiatus for some much needed R & R.
Helen enrolled in a Master Gardeners program and Felicia took horticulture classes to learn more about growing herbs, fruits and veggies. After 5 years, the love of working with food and growing it stirred up the “food bug” again! One night, Helen heard an inspirational program about pursuing a dream. Our dream was to expand our food knowledge to another area where variety would be the “spice of life”. We decided to combine our love for wonderful flavors with our love for gardening and our concern for good health. At the time, it was difficult to find healthy high quality seasonings without salt, sugar, MSG and preservatives, let alone blended creatively for discerning tastes. We decided to start Cedar Hill Seasonings to fill this gap and to make research and development of healthy superior seasoning blends a large part of our value proposition.
At the time, we were living on a hill where native cedar trees abounded. The beauty and aroma of these magnificent trees inspired us to name our company Cedar Hill Seasonings. Just as these cedar trees add enjoyment to our lives, we want to add enjoyment to the lives of all of those who desire to cook with the best healthy seasonings available.
So, we started down the entrepreneurial road once again; this time without our beloved Felix. We were fortunate to have a building on premise that we turned into a certified kitchen for food manufacturing. At times, we were overwhelmed with all that’s involved pulling together a startup company. We were determined that, no matter what, we would not compromise quality, taste and convenience for our new healthy products. Our first products were Spinach & Herb, Toasted Onion, Picante Sauce Mix, Chili/Taco Mix and Spaghetti Sauce Mix. Since the doctors were advising the American consumer that salt, sugar, MSG and preservatives might be contributing to heart disease, blood sugar issues and allergies, we were proud to offer our products without them.
Since this was the pre-internet era, we chose trade shows to get the word out. Our first show was in Dallas in 1987. We shared a booth with a fellow gourmet food vendor. In our small two foot space, we outsold our booth partner! We knew we had something unique, healthy, and delicious - what people were craving! We then branched out doing more selling at trade shows. We were the first Oklahoma specialty food manufacturer to be in the World Trade Center’s gourmet food section, doing 3 shows/year for 5 years.
As our business grew, we kept investing by purchasing more equipment. Our local banker came to see our new equipment and was thrilled for us. He had only one question…where will Cedar Hill be in 5 years? We knew then we had to look for a larger building. We moved to our present location in 2001 and have expanded three times. We have automated machinery, inspected by FDA and State regularly. Our warehouses are temperature and humidity controlled to enables us to preserve the freshness of our spices without chemicals!
It wasn’t long before we had numerous people calling wanting to either use our products for private labeling or to have their own unique products blended and packaged. So, we created a private label and blending service, which is now the bulk of our business. Through our private label service, we are able to assist with fundraising for communities and various organizations. We invite you to visit our site which is www.cedarhillprivatelabel.com.
We then researched the marketplace for healthy sea salt blends and found none that were free of MSG, gluten, preservatives, additives and colorings. That inspired us to create the Pure Shakers line. We now have 8 different Pure Shaker blends at grocery stores for you to enjoy. Our Pure Shakers website is www.pureshakers.com.
The Cedar Hill Seasonings road has been and continues to be exciting. We’ve learned to take the good with the bad and rise above all the obstacles that come our way. There were trials and errors and times we just wanted to quit, but we knew we had something so good, that we had to keep pursuing our dream. In doing so, it has made us better.
We believe in sharing our products and time with our local charities and sharing our knowledge, contacts and ideas to help our customers. Our philosophy is “you reap what you sow”. We are excited to see what the next 25 years bring! Thank you for your patronage. We recognize that we are privileged to serve you.
Helen and Felicia Schaefer