Johwanna Alleyne and her business Mojo Jojo Pickles have had quite the year. The Edmonton-based company, which offers a range of pickled products, preserves, and cocktail supplements, celebrated ten years in business in 2021 and was forced to move several times due to the pandemic. Still, Alleyne has managed to keep Mojo Jojo growing.
After selling the building where her commercial kitchen was located in 2019, Alleyne bounced around a few times until an attractive offer from Kingsway Mall came along.
"Kingsway offered us a permanent spot and we opened two weeks before COVID shut us down (in March 2020)," Alleyne told Taproot. "And then all I did during COVID was move things."
After a brief stint working out of the space at Cartago, her husband happened upon a space in the French Quarter at 9627 82 Avenue. In June 2021, they moved their kitchen into one side, and in August, opened up a storefront called Nosh and Quaff on the other. Alleyne shared that support from neighbouring businesses has been unparalleled.
"It's the best it's ever been," said Alleyne. "And it all came out of this crazy journey. It feels like we're home."
Nosh and Quaff is the only place in Edmonton to carry the full line of Mojo Jojo products, in addition to canning supplies and cookbooks. It has also begun hosting classes and demos, following all public health guidelines.
Throughout the pandemic, Mojo Jojo has experienced a huge demand for its products, and has barely kept pace with orders. Although its wholesale business through suppliers like Save-On-Foods and Safeway continues to be significant, half of its sales come from fulfilling online orders across Canada.
Alleyne credits a confluence of factors for its popularity. "It was the perfect storm," said Alleyne. "Shopping local, comfort food, quality food, shopping online, cocktails, and cooking more for yourself at home."
Alleyne said the Caesar bundles have been popular, but she also wishes she could predict which products would peak when.
"There was something on TikTok about snacking on pickled garlic," said Alleyne. "And pickled garlic is what people order in the middle of the night."