As we’ve shared before, we’re big fans of “encore entrepreneurs,” men and women who don’t let things like being 88-years-old stop them from starting a business. So, yes, we’re a fan of Earl Fultz of Cutchogue, N.Y., a recent winner of $25,000 as one of the five national grand prize winners in the Wells Fargo Works Project small business contest.

Fultz, now 90, and his late wife, Gloria Elmaleh, started their business, cHarissa, to make and sell her Americanized version of the traditional Moroccan seasoning harissa. After his wife, a native of Morocco, died last year at age 85 from emphysema, Fultz continued the business in her honor.

The couple were encouraged for decades by family and friends to sell cHarissa, but it wasn’t until they settled into retirement that they began bottling it. After selling the product at a farmer’s market, cHarissa made its way onto the shelves of several local retailers.

“When we first started, the only way people were really going to buy cHarissa is if they tasted it,” Fultz recently told NewsDay.com. “The farmer’s market was the perfect way to put it on display, and as more people tried it, that’s when it started to take off.”

Ultimately, Fultz hopes to take earnings he’s made from the company and create a foundation in his wife’s name. “I don’t want that Maserati or a yacht,” Fultz told Newsday. “The foundation would be so things can live on after us. It’s a bit of a dream, but then again, what isn’t?”

Like we said, he’s our hero.

Want to try out some of Fultz’s spices?

In addition to availability at retailers in and around the town of Cutchogue on Long Island, NY, the spices can be purchased on his website, cHarissa.biz:


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(Photo: Earl Fultz, 90, and his late wife Gloria Elmaleh, who died last year at age. via: cHarissa.biz/)