Locally made pasta sauce is selling in thousands of supermarkets across 30 states; newly upgraded manufacturing facility is enabling additional growth.
If Mideo Octavio, affectionately known to friends and family members as Mid, were alive today, he’d surely be wide eyed and smiling.
Mid would be amazed the company he started is producing millions of jars of pasta sauce annually.
He’d be beaming as soon as he realized his grandmother’s original sauce “gravy” recipe — straight from Sicily — is so wildly popular.
The Octavio family migrated to the United States from Italy in the early 1900s. Mideo was born in Massillon in 1908. He always had a deep passion for cooking.
In the 1940s, Mid opened his own restaurant in Navarre using his grandmother’s sauce as a staple. So many people loved the sauce that Mid decided to begin manufacturing it on a larger scale.
Once mixed and jarred in Mid’s garage, the sauce now is produced in a modern 20,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Navarre. That building, built in 2005, went through a multi-million-dollar upgrade earlier this year.
The updated operation, now fully automated, can produce three times more sauce than its previous capacity (that’s the potential to produce hundreds of jars per minute and thousands of jars per day).
Scott Chovan, MID’S director of sales, says the strategic investment is part of the brand’s aggressive growth plan.
“We’re gearing up for double-digit growth in 2019,” said Chovan. “It’s hard to believe, but the new kettles are producing sauces that taste even better!”
MID’S is distributed to thousands of supermarkets in 30 states. That includes more than 70 chain and locally owned food stores across the Midwest, the Eastern Seaboard and the South.
The same sauce is available in supermarkets including Giant Eagle, Kroger, Publix and Walmart.
“Right now, we’re in about 20 percent of supermarkets nationwide,” said Chovan.
That represents a fraction of the brand’s potential.
“MID’S is the number one sauce here in Stark County,” said Chovan. “We’re well known throughout Northeast Ohio, thanks to our many retail partners like Acme Fresh Markets, Buehler’s, Fishers Foods, Marc’s and Heinen’s, to name a few!”
MID’S is pushing into new markets. One such new market is New England. MID’S recently signed a deal with Hannaford, a supermarket chain with hundreds of stores in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.
Additional supermarket opportunities are in the works.
Customers unable to find MID’S products at their favorite local grocery store can order online at www.midssauce.com.
MID’S sauce lineup includes Traditional Meatless, Meat Sauce, Tomato Basil, Italian Sausage, Meat and Mushrooms, Italian Sausage and Peppers, Mushroom and Roasted Garlic, Three Cheese, Garlic and Onion, and Pizza Sauce.
Two new sauces will be launched in 2019 — Mideo’s Marinara and Extra Chunky Vegetable.
In 1998, Scott Ricketts and Steven Cress purchased MID’S from the Octavio family. Chovan, who’d been working at the Campbell Soup Co., joined the company shortly thereafter.
Growth and success have been consistent since, with several factors separating MID’S from the competition.
MID’S uses a unique, perfect combination of vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh herbs, imported spices, Italian olive oil, USDA beef and locally raised pork.
“Our sauces are crafted in small batches using only the freshest ingredients,” said Chovan. “Then, they’re slow-cooked in open kettles, for hours, never quick steamed like most other sauces. This helps lock in freshness and flavor.”
The result is all-natural, thick, rich, full-bodied Sicilian sauces.
“MID’S is sold in larger 32-ounce jars, unlike most other sauces that are sold in 24-ounce jars,” said Chovan. “Every 32-ounce jar of sauce with protein includes 12 full ounces of fresh beef or fresh sausage. We are the ‘real deal’ … not flavored.”
Chovan said MID’S sauces also are convenient for customers.
“With MID’S sauces, everything’s in there,” said Chovan. “Our sauces don’t require consumers to add anything.”
In addition to being very involved in the intricacies of making terrific sauces, MID’S is committed to community involvement. The company supports many schools and athletic teams, community projects in Stark County as well as events in Massillon and Canton.
When asked if there’s a limit to MID’S growth potential, Chovan paused to think.
“We’ll continue to expand anywhere and everywhere people will enjoy MID’S sauces,” said Chovan.
The number of people listening will surely increase as the brand continues to grow, however the MID’S True Sicilian Pasta Sauce story will remain the same.
And as long as his grandmother’s original recipe is introduced to more new people, Mideo would surely still be wide eyed and smiling.