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FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 2012

CONTACT: Myrtle Earley, marketing specialist
NCDA&CS Marketing Division

Two Charlotte-based food companies win awards at Fancy Food Show
Polka Dot Bake Shop wins Sofi Gold award and Race City Sauce Works wins Silver

RALEIGH -- The Polka Dot Bake Shop of Charlotte took home a prestigious Sofi Gold Winner award for its Sweet Potato Crackers, Cracked Black Pepper Flavor at the recent Summer Fancy Food Show in Washington, D.C.

The award, which stands for specialty outstanding food innovation, is the top honor in the $75 billion specialty food industry and is presented by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade. Polka Dot Bake Shop is one of just a handful of North Carolina companies that has ever received this top honor, according to Myrtle Earley, a marketing specialist with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, who assisted 11 companies in showcasing their products at the annual show.

Race City Sauce Works took home its first ever silver for its El Verde Sucio Vinaigrette salad dressing, which is made with roasted poblano peppers and green olives.

Earley said there were 2,520 entries across the 32 different award categories, making it one of the most competitive years in the show’s history. In the salad dressing category for example, Race City’s product competed against national gourmet brands.

“The Polka Dot Bake Shop’s Sweet Potato Crackers and Race City Sauce Work’s salad dressing are great examples of the tasty products being produced here in the state with North Carolina commodities,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “What a tremendous honor to be recognized by the industry.”

Polka Dot Bake Shop, a neighborhood bakery, is owned and operated by friends and business partners Jennifer Chapman and Michelle Miller.

Chapman said when the two started the store they knew they eventually wanted to make a packaged product that could expand the business’ reach beyond Charlotte, but they didn’t really have a specific product in mind. In 2008, they attended the Fancy Food Show and walked around to see what other products were out there. Mitchell said that experience made them realize “the world didn’t need another chocolate chip cookie.”

“Michelle started fiddling around with sweet potato and coming up with something that hadn’t been done before,” Chapman said. The Sweet Potato Crackers grew out of that experimentation. “We couldn’t have planned it if we tried.”

Having a Sofi award-winning specialty food product is proving to be a good calling card for business.

“The phone has rung a lot more this week, with people wanting to sample and maybe carry our products,” Miller said. “It really validates your product when you win something like this.”

The crackers can be found in specialty food stores, including all the Fresh Market and Whole Foods stores in the South region. The bake shop debuted a new sweet potato granola product at this year’s show, which earned positive feedback from attendees. Chapman said they hope it will be in stores in three to four months.

Race City’s line of sauces and condiments can be found online at




NCDA&CS Public Affairs Division, Brian Long, Director
Mailing Address:1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1001
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3005; FAX: (919) 733-5047

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Steve Troxler, Commissioner of Agriculture

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