Michele Foods Inc.
South Holland, Ill.
Success never tasted so sweet, says Michele Hoskins.
In 1984, the recently divorced mother of three and unemployed schoolteacher started cooking up a plan to turn the family secret recipe into a profitable legacy.
“Believe in your ability to achieve [your dream] and invest everything, no matter what it costs,” says Hoskins.
Without industry experience and only one small line of bank credit, the Chicago State University graduate, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, created the country’s only minority-owned specialty breakfast-foods manufacturer, Michele Foods Inc., in South Holland, Ill.
The syrup recipe handed down to the second daughter of each generation from Hoskins’s great-great-great grandmother, America Washing-ton, served as the impetus for the multimillion-dollar operation that now offers flavored syrups in more than 10,000 food stores nationwide.
The growing company also supplies related condiments to various food chains around the globe.
In 2004, Hoskins penned Sweet Expectations, an inspirational autobiography, and conducts a one-day business workshop, “From Recipe to Retail,” that provides aspiring entrepreneurs with ingredients for creating their own successful food enterprise.
Hoskins has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN American Morning and The Big Idea With Donnie Deutsch.
Her awards include the 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award from Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., the 2002 Entrepreneur of the Year Award from The Women’s Foodservice Forum and an honorary doctorate degree from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, R.I.