Sharing the Recipe for Success (and Good Food!)
Spice is life...Yes, food is serious, but you should have fun with it. – Emeril Lagasse
This positive attitude toward the art, and fun, of cooking is certainly the case for BJ and Lacey New, owners of High Plains Spice Company, the “Eastern Plains' premier spice shop.” From the moment you walk in the door at the Flagler shop (the second of their two locations), an entire world of delicious smells greet you, from carefully curated spice blends, premium craft coffees, olive oils and balsamic vinegars, gourmet food products including locally sourced pickles, and other food-related gifts for every taste and palate.
Culinary Dreams Do Come True
High Plains Spice Company is the brainchild of owners BJ and Lacey. BJ was born and raised in Flagler; Lacey in the Pueblo, Colorado area. They met at Colorado State University, where they were both studying agriculturally-based disciplines. BJ loved to grill and smoke meats using his special spice and rub blends and after a number of people began to request his homemade creations, they started offering them at local farmers markets and gift shows. They eventually followed their culinary dream and opened their first High Plains Spice Company brick and mortar shop in Sterling, complete with a state certified kitchen, allowing them to grow that dream into a sustainable business model. This past year, BJ, Lacey, and their kids moved back to Flagler to be near family and opened their second location. In total, High Plains Spice Company consists of two storefronts, a successful online presence, a small batch winery, and customized corporate gifts.
“The High Plains Spice Company brings the fragrant smell of success to the Flagler community," shares Leigh Anna Andersen, High Plains Bank Flagler Branch Manager. "BJ and Lacey remade the old Stone Communications building into a beautiful retail space. If you aren't sure what you're looking for, their recommendations have never steered me wrong. We're proud to see a Panther Alumni bringing his talent back to Flagler.”
Recipe for Success
A decade later, BJ shares that “the business has really taken off,” and both he and Lacey are dedicated to their venture on a full-time basis. Their entire catalog of products are available through their online storefront and they currently employ two part-time employees, as well as seasonal help.
The Flagler store exudes a quaint, homey energy; however, the business model reaches far beyond the Flagler and Sterling areas. The couple works with 10 different suppliers from all over the globe, who provide them with the highest quality and authentically grown spices. This kind of vision and entrepreneurial spirit is strong and for both the News, “High Plains Spice Shop is a way to be part of the agricultural community,” as well as the farm-to-table movement. “We like to think that our spices provide a welcoming gateway experience to opening up new culinary avenues for people to try,” shares BJ.
Returning to Hometown Roots
BJ and Lacey are part of the renewed business energy that smaller towns like Flagler are experiencing, with many younger entrepreneurs returning to their hometown roots. For the News, that means going beyond their store and into the community. One might think that running two physical stores as well as an online operation would keep them busy enough, but the News always strive to do more. To give back, BJ has recently joined the Arriba-Flagler School Board and he and Lacy regularly donate to local community and agriculturally-related organizations.