Weber's Mustard is back on shelves at BJ's Wholesale Clubs in the Buffalo Niagara market, following an outcry from local foodies.
The Western New York favorite had been discontinued at BJ's locations in Amherst, Clarence, Hamburg and Olean; the only stores where it was carried by the national chain.
But shortly after a story ran on BuffaloNews.com, and a post went viral on the Facebook page of Weber's owner Steven Desmond, BJ's contacted the company to reinstate its orders.
"Numerous customer service comments were sent to BJ's. The Buffalo News article was posted at 3:17 p.m. yesterday and at 4:19 p.m., we received orders from BJ's local clubs," Desmond said. "Now this is what social media is for."
On average, Weber's received two to three orders from BJ's stores per month. But, in mid-November, those orders stopped coming.
As its fourth-largest account, Weber's was staring down make-or-break losses.
"I know $30,000 yearly doesn't sound like much, but our top two accounts amount to about 60 percent of our annual business and the other 70 accounts make up the remaining 40 percent," he said. "Everything affects the bottom line of a small business deeper than a large corporation."
Weber's said it has enjoyed steady sales at BJ's locations for 20 years. But about a year ago, a corporate buyer took over the ordering duties for BJ's local stores. Desmond figures the corporate buyer looked at the "small potatoes" nature of Weber's sales and decided it would be no big deal to replace it with a sweet mustard by Sweet Baby Ray's, which is headquartered in Chicago and sold nationally in BJ's stores.
Apparently, that buyer was wrong.
Desmond's original post about the loss of the BJ's account on his personal Facebook page Friday was shared 43 times. Customers began contacting the company and, in some cases, threatening to boycott BJ's or cancel their memberships.
Desmond said he was glad it didn't come to that, and that he was touched by and grateful for the outpouring of support he received from the community. Keeping a 96-year-old company chugging along is no easy task, he said, but regaining the BJ's account will help Weber's live to see another day.
"I love knowing that Western New York is always there to support their local homegrown companies," he said.