Reggie Kelly on Founding Kyvan Foods
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My name is Reggie Kelly. I'm just a small town country, boy from Aberdeen, Mississippi. I attended Mississippi state university, my wife, Sheila and I, we are the founders and owners of Kyvan Foods. That's located and headquartered here in Atlanta, GA. Um, we are also the founders and owners of Kyvan Body Essential New Hair and Spirit Skin Care Line, that we've just incorporated. That's located here in Atlanta, GA as well.
I played 13 years in the NFL. I started out, you know, again at Mississippi state university and, uh, played four years that there was all SEC academic honor roll, um, and all SEC football players, well Arthur Ashe nominee. And so when I grew up next door to my grandmother, you know, my grandma always told me, baby, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Uh, we in this generation understand what that means. You know, you have to put all use all of your God given talents and put them on display. Um, so I wanted to make sure that I was really, really sound academically, um, but also wanted to be a great athlete also. So in 1999, I was drafted to play tight end here and in Atlanta with the Atlanta Falcons, the dirty birds. And I ended up playing five seasons for the Atlanta Falcons, and I played eight seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals for a total of 13 seasons in the NFL.
I just came from a family of cooks, not chefs, just cooks, you know, add a little bit of this baby. And a little bit of that. Let's get a taste, but you know, just a pinch, more of that. That's what I came from and my family would make any excuse. I mean, any excuse to get together and cook and enjoy great meals, you know, we would make fun of you just tease you if your meal was slightly off. If it just wasn't just right and it would be fun. And again, we would always have like, you know, different contests of who makes the best this and that. And it just made for great memories, during the NFL off season, I used to throw free football camps for the kids in my hometown. Um, the kids who exemplified great academic excellence, I rewarded them, gave them free football camps. I flew down my teammates to encourage them and reward them, gave him free NFL gear, uh, cause it's important to me in regards to kids to teach kids that when you work hard, you're going to receive something good from it. That hard work pays off. Um, my mama used to always tell me, "Baby, anything worth having is worth working for." And so I wanted to set the blueprint that kids work extremely hard. There are great benefits and doing so well, the kids enjoy it, the football camp. And um, but after the football camps and after any event in Mississippi Sarah, Oh, you're going to have some good food. And so my family and my wife's family cook for all the volunteers. And I'm gonna tell you my teammates couldn't stop raving about our family recipes. They raved so much to the point. One of my teammate's wife called my wife and said, "Sheila, you guys really need to do something with these family recipes." And so we took her advice and we gathered our family secrets met with some really, really good co-packers. We named the company after our kids and the rest is history, Kyvan Foods.
Our products are like a well orchestrated symphony that they're hitting all the right notes.
My family always told me, baby, when you cook, make sure you do it with love. Make sure you cook in such a way that first-time visitors would feel welcome or they will feel a part of our Kelly household. And that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to bring that type of love. Um, the stir up, those types of memories to households all across this country.