By SEAN ROWLEY
Backwoods Food Manufacturing is an entrepreneurial venture begun by Danielle Coursey, who earned a bachelor of business administration in 1986 and an MBA in 1998 from Northeastern State University.
Opened in 1999, Backwoods Food is an FDA licensed and regulated operation that bottles food products including salsa, barbecue sauce, pickles, relishes, condiments and dry seasonings for more than 40 U.S. companies. Coursey started the company as an in-the-home part-time effort to create food gift baskets. Originally called Backwoods Baskets her enterprise grew until, by 2010, it occupied an 8,400-square-foot full-scale manufacturing facility with 10 employees.
Coursey is a former director of the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center at NSU and wrote a business advice column in the Muskogee Phoenix. Today, she runs Backwoods with her husband Mike at the current facility sited on North 470 Road.
The 25-year relocation lease between Backwoods and the Tahlequah Industrial Park waives annual payments of $9,600 for the first five years if Backwoods moves to the park by mid-2014. After five years, Backwoods will make gradually increasing annual payments to the Tahlequah Industrial Authority until, by the end of the lease, Backwoods is paying $16,800 per year.