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Local pizzeria let family use kitchen rent-free for 6 years until their food business took off

'I just think very few people would have done what he did for us.'
Posted at 3:44 PM, Apr 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-10 15:44:25-04

(WXYZ) — Detroit Salsa Company is a family-run business making fresh tortilla chips, guacamole, and salsa.

The Gomez family, which includes, Ray, Jennifer, Reilly, Finn, and Rowan, all work tirelessly towards the company's success.

It all started when Finn, Ray and Jennifer’s son, had an idea back in 2016 to commercialize his great grandma’s recipe and 6 years later they have a full-fledged store. Something Finn says is "crazy."

The uniqueness of their journey kicked off when Jennifer typed a Facebook post 6 years ago. She was asking the community for help, looking to rent a commercial kitchen space once a week for a couple of hours.

"That’s when Jim answered the post," said Ray Gomez, Owner of Detroit Salsa Company.

Jim Danoksy owns Bella Pizza in Allen Park, and with over 30 years of experience in the food industry, Jim and his wife know the importance of having a support system during the starting phase.

"I figured we can help them, and they didn’t have to pay any rent, we could care less. And we made it so they were able to, at least build the business up, to the point where they are today," said Jim.

For the next 6 years, the Gomez family used the kitchen at Bella Pizza rent-free.

"I didn’t need it, and they needed as much help as they could get," said Jim.

And the support paid off, from selling salsa at local gyms to now having it available at over 20 stores across metro Detroit. Something Rays says couldn’t have been possible without Jim.

"Starting a business, is stressful and times scary, and just knowing that you have someone who has been there, and you can talk to and get advice, it helps, it’s a great thing, it relieved some of my stress at times," said Ray.

But over the 6 years, there was one thing that Jim still has a bone to pick with Ray.

"This guy used to come in 4 in the morning, I have cameras, so I knew when I came, plus, he made sure I knew because he took his flashlight and buzzed me while I was sleeping," said Jim.

From a humble beginning to a strong friendship and now a successful business venture, the Gomez family will always be grateful for Jim.

"I just think very few people would have done what he did for us," said Ray.

Food items at the Detroit Salsa Company are fresh and don’t have any added preservatives or sugar, and the best part is it's Finn’s great grandma’s recipe. If you want to try them out, they are located in Lincoln Park.