Tami Potts has been canning her homemade salsa since her 20s. People have always told her that she should start her own salsa company, but between raising four kids and working, she never had much time to pursue that opportunity.
In the summer of 2016, Tami’s right hand started going numb. Her doctor told her it was time to consider another profession, as she spent many long days as a mail carrier. Tami’s daughter suggested finally starting up that salsa business.
So Tami began her research. She rented out a kitchen at the WT Enterprise Center in Amarillo, Texas, and in November 2016, she got her licensing set up and began to sell Skip’s Salsa.
Meanwhile, Tami had continued to see multiple doctors to understand the cause of the numbness in her hand and arm. In December 2016, her neurologist thought she had ALS and told her not to work anymore.
She traveled down to Houston for a second opinion from Dr. Appel at the Houston Methodist Hospital. All her tests were coming back normal except for the hand and arm weakness. Tami received a diagnosis of lower motor neuron disease in her right side, which could eventually turn into full-blown ALS, and she could have up to 10 years or more.
“Instead of the initial pity party you want to have for yourself, my salsa company gave me hope,” Tami said. “I started building my business. We’ve been in business for a little over a year now, so it’s amazing that we’re already selling in stores.”
Initially, Tami focused on selling at local events, but she quickly began to pursue distribution in local grocery stores. Now, Skip’s Salsa is sold at United Supermarkets and 15 Walmart stores around the panhandle and North Texas.
Tami has not let ALS slow her down.
“It’s amazing that even at 50 years old, I was diagnosed with something as horrible as ALS, but it’s given me the opportunity to live my dream,” Tami said.
Tami’s family is very supportive of this dream. When she started her business, her father was retired, and her daughter had four children and didn’t work, so they both helped with her business.
“My family is helping me live my dream through their hands,” Tami said.
Skip’s Salsa is named after Tami’s late uncle. He was her go-to guy. He often gave her advice on what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. He passed away several years before beginning the company, but the legacy he left inspired the name.
“When I was first building my company, I thought ‘Uncle Skip, what do I do?’ in terms of the business side of things,” Tami said. “That’s when I chose that name.”
Tami encourages anyone diagnosed with ALS to use those beginning stages to live out the dream you didn’t think you’d ever be able to do.
“Step out into something new,” Tami said. “Because for me, it gives me a purpose everyday.”
The first year of Skip’s Salsa was a rollercoaster year, Tami said. She started a new company and was diagnosed with ALS. But the company helped her get through that first ear and helped her get over her fear of having ALS.
“If I didn’t have ALS, I would not have had this opportunity,” Tami said.
Visit www.skipssalsa.com to learn where you can purchase Skip’s Salsa.