Phyllis W. HaynesIn 2006, a hobby turned into a budding business for Phyllis W. Haynes when she decided to invest in an eight-week course for entrepreneurs. In 2007 she formed Southern Relishes LLC, and in 2008 she watched the first commercial batch of Mariah’s Chow Chow Relish being produced in a commercial kitchen. Since then, dozens of grocers, specialty food retailers, including some Whole Foods and restaurants statewide have eagerly added Mariah’s Chow Chow Relish to their display shelves and menus.

Phyllis was named 2009 Supplier of the Year by the Southern Connecticut Black Chamber of Commerce, and she is a member of the board of directors of the Connecticut Specialty Food Association. She is also a member-candidate of the National Association for the Specialty Food Trades, the Women’s Business Development Council and member of the board of directors of the West Haven Chamber Commerce, and she was chosen by Citizen’s Bank to represent its 2009 Small Business Program.

Phyllis has two children, and she and her husband live in West Haven, Conn.

“I am so glad to be an entrepreneur, because if you feel good doing something it’s worth doing,” Phyllis says. “It’s not easy, but when you get one or two calls a day – ‘Thank you!’ or ‘I really like your relish!’ – it connects me to my purpose, my passion!”

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