The history of the world of Red Cactus-USA began in April 1995. Steve Lehenbauer had a minimal budget and maximum hope. Well, really it started when Steve was growing up because his family always had a salsa around the table. It started as a happy accident when his Aunt Gracie added some sorghum syrup to a recipe one day. Years later, after connecting with a manufacturer, he and his life savings made the jump to produce the very first line of Red Cactus-USA salsa. Over two decades later, Red Cactus-USA salsa can be found in major grocery stores around the country. But its success was not without trials and tribulations. It took years of testing, both within the marketplace but also in life. Not having experience in the food and beverage industry made for a steep learning curve. He sold his car, used his life savings, and lost any resemblance of a steady paycheck for months. But something kept saying to push forward, so forward he went.
Initially, the salsa was well received within a small local circle, so the challenge came in marketing the sweet salsa beyond the local community. You name it and it probably happened. From manufacturing problems to financial constraints to adjusting the recipe over time. But nine years of trials and persistence, Red Cactus-USA navigated through the challenges and had sold thousands of jars across the country. A customer from Tawas City, Michigan wrote us to say, “Thought I’d try something new, my old favorite was bought out by Campbell’s and almost instantly became watered down. The “sweet” part of your label caught my eye. Purchased at local Neiman’s Market here in Tawas City, MI. I will be looking for it in a bigger jar to share with company. Excellent texture and taste!” Who knows, maybe next up is the international market.
At Red Cactus it has always been about more than just the salsa.
Sure, there were times when that was all we thought about and focused on, but the bigger picture of Red Cactus-USA has always been about our passion for community outreach, ministry and supporting foundations to assist those who need help the most. As a community, we need to be there for people who have fallen on hard times and may need help to get back up. Still based in Hannibal, Missouri, Red Cactus-USA has never forgotten our roots or our humble beginnings and we take every opportunity to not only support our community nearby, but we work to support communities beyond ours.
Our purpose to promote a healthy lifestyle and smart choices is clear in every jar of our product. From our mild, medium and hot salsas to our queso and beyond, we promote a product with fresh ingredients from our garden, non-gmo sourced food, no artificial flavoring, low sodium and gluten free. Our mild salsa is a best seller on the market today and has been an anchor product since the beginning. That faint hint of jalapeños and sweetness pop with every bite.
When we look beyond the product, beyond the salsa and look at how it has impacted our community, our staff, and our customers, it is clear that it is a vehicle of flavor, and a vehicle for healthy healing. Check out our Facebook reviews and our testimonials on how this salsa is affecting people. “By far our favorite salsa ever! Bought for years and never notice the spiritual symbols on the bottle. Love it even more now. Keep up the great work!” From his kitchen table, Steven came up with the logo and design, filled with symbolism which is still used today. As a company with Christian roots and strong beliefs, every jar of Red Cactus-USA salsa has a scripture reference on it. “All things are possible to him who believes!” Mark 9:23, was used for years and from day one, this tradition continues. Later, Deuteronomy- Chapter Eight was used, which parallels the history and success of Red Cactus-USA.
From our gluten free salsa products based out of Hannibal, Missouri to our community outreach, Red Cactus-USA cares about humanity and our customers. Our customer support and service is a leading factor and plays a proactive role in how we as a company and a team are reflected and respond to the world around us and we work hard to rectify any issues or concerns from our products. But like we mentioned, it is not just about our products or our business. It is not just about making a buck or the bottom line. In fact, Steven continues what he calls his journey “From the Cactus to the Cross,” where he is passionate about outreach and visiting your church or meeting place to speak and share stories. It is all in the name of encouraging others to serve. If you or someone you know is interested in having Steven speak to your group, church or at a conference, he can be reached at 217-653-8147 or by email at [email protected]. To learn more about Red Cactus-USA and our mission, be sure to check out our About Us page and keep up to date with the latest and greatest on our Facebook page.