By Jason DeRusha

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — All week, the WCCO Morning Show is highlighting entrepreneurs and small businesses in Minnesota. A Minneapolis woman owns her own computer consulting firm, but has a side business that is extremely spicy.

Like most good ideas involving food, Heather Manley’s line of spice rubs started in her home.

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“I found it really hard to find rubs that weren’t overloaded with salt,” Manley said.

Her day job as owner of a tech consulting firm kept her traveling and eating.

“I think a lot of IT people are also foodies. As I’m out all the time eating and trying things,” Manley said. “I created the original rub in my kitchen ten years ago.”

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After sharing her spice mix with enough friends, she got a meeting at Kowalski’s. They loved it, and helped her go into production. And thus, Heather’s Dirty Goodness was born.

“I wanted the name to be fun,” she said. “IT can only be so crazy and creative or you tend to lose your market. So, Heather’s Dirty Goodness — express some creativity, have inappropriate fun with the product.”

Her product grew into an entire line. Now she has six spice mixes, from the original with its Italian overtones to the spicy and sneeze-inducing “Censored,” which as Manely said is “holy hell hot.”

Though Manley joked that she’s after “world dominance, of course,” the spices she developed for Kowalski’s will soon be on shelves in Target and Cub Foods. And next up may be a line of infused olive oils and her own brand of bourbon.

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“I think the biggest difference from a small business owner and a corporate individual is that I tried it. I followed through,” Manley said.

Jason DeRusha