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Couple's slogan: `just add water'

Published: Sunday, June 21 1998 12:00 a.m. MDT

Success for Donald J. and Sheila P. White has come more from perseverance than opportunity.

After meeting and marrying while students at Brigham Young University, the couple moved through a series of entrepreneurial ventures.Over the course of 30 years, they were involved in everything from farming and remodeling to running a waterbed retail outlet and doing hydroelectric site development. Despite facing dishonest associates, floods, regulatory changes and injuries, they always were willing to pick themselves up and try again.

In the early 1990s, Sheila White decided to try marketing a powdered wassail mix that, when added to juice, made a "spiced cider." She mixed up 300 bags at her home and traveled 200 miles to a craft show to sell them. When she sold out in three hours, the Whites saw another entrepreneurial possibility and moved to Salt Lake City in December 1991.

By early 1994, their Bear Creek Country Kitchens, now located in Heber City, had developed a line of six dehydrated dip mixes. Today, the company has 55 products, from soups and bakery items to preserves and mustard.

Armed with the simplest possible soup mix and the slogan of "just add water," Bear Creek has seen phenomenal growth.

The company now distributes its products to grocery stores, warehouse clubs, specialty food accounts, military commissaries, institutional users and international markets, among others. Moving forward, Bear Creek is focusing on brand positioning, product line enhancement and acquiring shelf space to make their products readily available to consumers worldwide.

Donald White, 64, and Sheila White, 63, support their community in numerous ways outside the workplace by sponsoring a scholarship and local sporting events. They have donated 200,000 meals to the Utah Food Bank annually and 250,000 meals to various charities nationwide in 1997.

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