Business Watch: Locals Excel In Worldwide Competition

Wozz! Kitchen Creations owner and chef Warrick Dowsett and his wife Ashley Thompson receive the prestige sofi™ awards, winning Gold for three of their specialty food products. (Contributed photo)

It takes a village to raise a child, build a community, and change the world. During my childhood, I preferred to walk the two and a half miles home, all uphill in the blinding snow, over riding the public school bus. The bus ride could take longer than the walk, sometimes even more so if the driver made a detour to her home where the bus would wait idling in the driveway while she went inside to deal with her family, and the interior of the school bus made me terribly nauseous with the sticky high back seats, dusty floors, greasy windows, and the constant jostling. And to cap off my decision, the bus made everyone smell like diesel with a dose of headache.

In January 2001, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Coalition for Clean Air published a report appropriately titled, “No Breathing In The Aisles: Diesel Exhaust Inside School Buses,” as the culmination of the School Bus Monitoring Study Development and Oversight with school bus monitoring protocol and study developed and implemented with a team of principal authors and researchers jointly with the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. Findings include, “A child riding a diesel school bus may be exposed to 23 to 46 times the cancer risk considered “significant” by EPA and under federal environmental laws.” So if you were one of those cool kids that rode in the back of the bus sometimes enshrouded by a puff of black diesel exhaust, you may be especially interested to learn that now is the time to begin preparing for Clean School Bus Program Funding.

As promoted by NVDA, “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $5 billion over five years (FY22-26) for the replacement of existing school buses with low and zero-emission school buses. Under the Clean School Bus Program, half of the available funding is dedicated to zero-emission school buses and half is for low-emission school buses. With this school bus program, EPA has an exciting opportunity to make significant investments in the health, equity, and resilience of our communities. EPA expects to release more details on the specifics of the program soon. All program information and updates can be found at, and stakeholders can sign-up for the Clean School Bus News newsletter to stay up to date on program efforts.

Wozz! Kitchen Creations, a specialty foods company located in Bethlehem with a kitchen production facility in Twin Mountain, has recently been recognized as a 3x Gold Award winner at the 2022 NYC Fancy Food Show sofi™ awards. The prestigious sofi™ is the specialty foods industry’s highest honor. “We are sincerely honored to be awarded 3 sofi™ Gold Awards,” said Warrick Dowsett, owner and chef at Wozz!, adding, “We always strive for excellence in each product we make, focusing on fresh local ingredients, thoughtful layering of spices, acidity and herbs and attention to all those fine details that create intricate and delicious flavor profiles. Winning a sofi™ award is a true testament to our dedication to the craft and we are very grateful for the recognition.” With nearly 2,000 products competing for the top honors, Wozz! earned Gold for cooking sauces in three categories. Gold winner in the Condiment, Marinade and Dressing category is Wozz!’s Vietnamese Green Tea & Mint Dipping Sauce, Dressing & Marinade - A Vietnamese dipping sauce better known as nuoc cham, with the unexpected twist of organic green tea, fresh mint, sweetened lime and chili. Gold winner in the Barbecue Sauce category is Wozz!’s Korean Raspberry Gochujang BBQ Sauce - A Korean-inspired barbecue sauce infused with tart raspberries, toasted sesame, organic tamari, fresh garlic and umami rich gochujang. Gold winner in the Sauce category is Wozz!’s North African Chermoula Sauce - A bold and bright fusion of fresh lemon, cilantro, ginger and simmered spices including cumin, paprika and saffron. In addition to the sofi™ award winners, the company produces a line of globally influenced cooking sauces, grilling sauces, marinades and chutneys, a line of savory jams and spreads for cheese and charcuterie pairings and a line of slow infused vinegars and cocktail mixers. Wozz! Kitchen Creations was founded by Warrick Dowsett and his wife Ashley Thompson in 2010. Prior to launching Wozz!, Warrick spent nearly a decade working as a private luxury yacht chef in Europe, Asia and Central America. Over the past 10 years, Wozz! has received 16 sofi™ awards making them one of the most awarded young companies in the specialty foods industry. To learn more about the growing line of Wozz! specialty foods including where to buy at independent retailers visit online at

Local startup business, Sewn by A Taylor, was recently in the DIY Hero™ Competition. The winner took home $25,000 along with an editorial spread in Make Magazine. Sewn by A Taylor was outvoted just before the semi-final round. Even though Sewn by A Taylor didn’t make it to the end, owner Alejandra Taylor said, “It’s been a good experience that has helped grow my online presence, plus I really love interaction with customers.” Alejandra and her husband Mathew relocated to Vermont from California to be closer to his family and work with the family businesses; Mathew’s parents, Suzanne and Butch Taylor, own and operate Artistic Gardens and Le Jardin du Gourmet. She started sewing during quarantine by making clothing for her own child and then for friends, then evolving to an Etsy business site and later this month will launch a website in addition to a local retail presence. The business has moved quickly from craft fairs to selling in local retailers. Art & Joy carries Sewn by A Taylor with Alejandra planning to make items specifically for the shop, and the Peacham Corner Guild will carry her clothing items come June.

“Sewn by A Taylor is mother-influenced. I picked it up and am self-taught crafting “grow with me” items to fit a bigger size range. I like to make super functional items with easy-to-use features. As a parent, I want snaps on pants for diaper-wearing toddlers and warm weather clothing for our climate, and I sell to people all over the country!” shared Alejandra. Sewn by A Taylor offers newborn to size 9 children’s ready-to-wear clothing, specializing in baby shower gift sets, handmade baby and mama clothes and custom orders. All items are made with love by Alejandra. Check out Alejandra Taylor’s business at and soon visit the new website at

If you have business news and/or a new business discovery you’d like to share please send an email to I am always happy to shine a light on your business and our shared region.

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