Slawsa family recipe launches Chattanooga business

Slawsa family recipe launches Chattanooga business

April 3rd, 2012 by Carey O'Neil in Business Around the Region

Judson Odom talks about "Slawsa," a cabbage-based salsa that he and his wife make and sell at Aquarium Foods in Chattanooga. The condiment is sold on hot dogs at the Tennessee Aquarium and is distributed in stores across the region, including Ingles and soon in Publix.

Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse /Times Free Press.

Name: Slawsa

Location: Company owner Judson Odom has lived in Chattanooga since he was 18, and runs the business locally.


What is Slawsa? Slawsa is a condiment for hot dogs, sandwiches, fish, crackers and any other food that could use a little spicing up. The cabbage-based mix of pickled vegetables has a relish-like consistency with a bit of a crunch, similar to the Southern dish chow-chow.

Where to get it: Odom is constantly looking for more distributors, but Slawsa already can be found on the shelves of Ingles. It will start appearing on Publix shelves on June 15.

Family history: Odom has been eating Slawsa for as long as he can remember. "It was just something Mom dreamed up, I guess," he said. "Mom was one of those people who used to pull something out of her hat and it was always good." As Odom grew up, he shared the recipe with friends who encouraged him to start a business with the food.

Starting up: Odom invested about $20,000 getting his recipe ready for mass production, finding distributors and marketing the product. He's been playing with the idea of starting a business for about 20 years, but got serious about selling Slawsa in the last year.

Future goals: Slawsa is in a competition in Walmart's "Get on the Shelf" program. If consumers vote Slawsa as one of the top 10 most desired new products, Odom's recipe will appear on Walmart shelves and receive marketing help. To vote for the condiment, text 920 to 383838 or visit

-- Compiled by Carey O'Neil. If you have an idea for a small business feature, contact reporter Carey O'Neil at or 423-757-6525. Follow him at