Thomas Frierson

Spark of the Heart
Consumer Packaged Goods
Chicago, Illinois (8 miles from downtown Chicago)

Thomas is vice president of Spark of the Heart, which he co-founded with his wife, company president Cynthia Zeki, Ph.D. Spark of the Heart produces delicious dried bean-based soup mixes, bean salads, and beans and rice side dishes on Chicago’s North Side.

Launched in 2010, Spark of the Heart is aiming to scale up its production and distribution after a gradual start-up phase, and broaden its retail marketing beyond its current farmers market focus.

The company’s products combine taste, health consciousness and ease for busy consumers. Thomas says, “Our foods are all-natural, nutritionally dense, vegan, and allergen-free, and have no artificial ingredients or preservatives. Our products are complete and easy to prepare — just add water!”

Thomas says Cynthia, an educator and health services professional, created the recipes now used for Spark of the Heart’s products to feed her family and friends.

Thomas emphasizes the business’s commitment to localism, regionalism and social consciousness in serving the greater good. Spark of the Heart products are packaged in partnership with two centers for the developmentally challenged. The business obtains many of the vegetables and beans used in its mixes from northern Wisconsin and Kankakee County south of Chicago.