Topeka, Kan. – When it comes to a successful business enterprise in a small town, not many people would think of selling pork rinds. As it turns out, however, maybe they should.
Husband and wife team Thaddeus and Kelly Perry own and operate “Perry’s Pork Rinds,” a mail-order pork rind shop headquartered in the small town of Bronson, KS. Thaddeus is the sole owner while Kelly is the manager.
It all started when Kelly booked the two on a cruise to the Bahamas to celebrate ten years of marriage. The only problem with this plan was that the two didn’t have the money to go.
“So, I said, ‘Well, let’s sell funnel cakes and pork rinds,’” Kelly explained, “and I noticed that the pork rinds sold really quickly and no one else had them.” Kelly estimates that the two of them sold around 65lbs of rinds in just 24 hours.
Immediately after seeing the success of the enterprise, Kelly contacted the couple’s tax specialist to ask about establishing an LLC. Within two months, Kelly had done her due diligence with the USDA, their spare bedroom became an office, and “Perry’s Pork Rinds” was born.
Nowadays, Kelly manages the business while Thaddeus does all the cooking, thanks to his history working as a butcher (Kelly noted that the cooking gets too hot and she is, therefore, uninterested).
The idea for pork rinds originally came to Kelly because of their nutritional value. Pork rinds (not counting any seasoning or additive which could also be included in a final product) contain no carbohydrates. They contain very few calories.
Kelly, a gastric bypass patient, had already shifted her diet away from carbohydrates, and, as anyone on a low-carb diet can tell you, pork rinds are a quick substitute for potato chips.
“I was already eating pork rinds off the store shelves all the time,” Kelly said, “but they weren’t fresh. That’s what sets us apart.”
Most big-corporate pork rind products have a shelf-life of three-and-a-half months. Perry’s Pork rinds cook and ship every week. When the couple brings pork rinds to a festival or concert, as they often do, they cook no more than 48 hours ahead of time.
With the near-instant success of the business, Kelly and Thaddeus have been able to purchase a trailer to haul the pork rinds to festivals instead of having to jampack their cars with them. Thaddeus dons a pink pig costume to become “Perry the Pig” and march through the street in Fort Scott’s annual parade. In just over a year, Perry’s Pork Rinds has gone from an idea to a very successful business.
“It’s a whirlwind,” Kelly said. “A year ago, it was ‘do you have money for gas’ or ‘we need school lunch money, the money for the kids’ lunches is behind,’ and it’s just not like that now.”
Despite the company’s success, the couple has never spent a penny on advertising. The business has grown on the strengths, alone, of social media and word-of-mouth.
Perry’s sells their pork rinds in an online store, with a $7 price tag for 9.5 ounces of rinds. Kelly explained that their store is actually cheaper than buying a bag off the shelf, ounce-for-ounce, because a $2 bag at the store will usually contain around 0.3 ounces.
The store offers nine different flavors, including Original, BBQ, Chili Lime, Cheddar Cheese, Dill Pickle, Cinnamon Sugar, Spicy, Ranch, and Sour Cream & Onion.
As it is now, Perry’s Pork Rinds is an online-only retailer, but the company has its sights on a possible storefront. Kelly hopes to sell not only her pork rinds there, but several other food items made in Kansas, as well.
For more information or to place an order, visit PerrysPorkRinds.com.