C.J.’s Southern Seasonings: The Secret Really is in the Bag

When starting a business, specifically as an African American, hearing from others what “you can’t do” or what “you won’t achieve” is not uncommon, and for Joan Anderson things were no different. When Anderson and her husband first started C.J.’s Southern Seasonings, they were told several times that the business “wouldn’t take off” and their seeming success was to be short lived and “wouldn’t last.” But that clearly did not stop them, because now, 10 years later, the Andersons are shipping out thousands of orders for the famous seasoning, and it can be found on the shelves of almost 200 grocery stores across the southeast United States.

C.J.’s Southern Seasonings originally started as a commercial mobile concession stand in San Antonio where they sold fried fish and seafood. This is where customers were introduced to and fell in love with the secret seasoning. It quickly became a crowd favorite, leading the concession stand to be found at numerous locations across the city.



Despite the mobile concession stand’s success, the Andersons relocated first to Tennessee after accepting a job offer and then to Mississippi, with the demand for their seasoning traveling along with them.

“People loved our seasoning,” co-founder Joan Anderson said. “I think it is the one thing that really set us apart from everyone else. Even years after leaving San Antonio, we were still getting calls asking for the concession stand’s location or at least where to get some of our seasoning.”

That is when the Andersons decided to launch their own website and start shipping out orders of their seasoning and fish fry. They started out packaging orders in their kitchen, but sales grew exponentially, and they had to hire co-packers just to keep up. This is how the brand of C.J.’s Southern Seasonings got to where it is today.


Cedric and Joan Anderson

Cedric and Joan Anderson

“We never thought it would grow into a brand,” Anderson said. “I thought it was just a fun hobby for us. Now, we have an entire customer base we like to call ‘Secret Sharers.’”

This “hobby” has brought the Anderson’s such unanticipated success, but their good ideas haven’t run out yet. They have several items planned for the upcoming year including a chicken seasoning and a line of meal-specific seasonings.

C.J.’s Southern Seasonings has also recently become one of the few commercial kitchens in Mississippi to be a certified manufacturer and processor of desserts. This allows them to offer their sweet potato and pecan pies in multiple retail outlets.

C.J.’s Southern Seasonings has grown into a brand the Andersons never expected, one with sales from every state in the United States, grocery store partners across the south, but as the business continues growing and changing, one thing that remains the same is the Anderson’s gratefulness.

“We would not be anywhere without the support of so many friends and family,” Anderson said. “I could not have done any of this without my husband of 36 years, our kids, our grandchildren and so many others who have helped us every day of this journey.”

For more information or to purchase, C.J.’s Southern Seasonings, visit their website at http://www.cjssouthernseasonings.com or go to Amazon and search C.J.’s Southern Seasonings.

About Post Author

From the Web

Skip to content