Sandy evacuee gets product on grocery store shelves

July 19, 2013 8:15:24 PM PDT
"I was so excited, I was jumping up and down like a kid!" said Joy Ortiz, a Sandy evacuee.

From Sandy refugee to a start-up food star, Joy Ortiz has come a long way.

The fact that her little Mayo jar is even on the shelves of the nation's largest natural and organic grocer is in her mind: a miracle.

Eyewitness News first met Joy in a shelter the night Superstorm Sandy struck.

She and her parents had to be rescued from the second floor of their flooded Little Ferry home.

The family had lost everything to Hurricane Irene a year before, the bank was threatening to foreclose on their home, and then Sandy hit. It wiped them out a second time along with the seeds of Joy's new business, a flavored mayonnaise she was attempting to market.

"Not only did I lose everything , all my belongings, I lost everything associated with the business, all my bottles, all my labels lids," Ortiz said, "I had no choice but to pick myself up and keep going."

Months after the storm Joy went from cleaning muck to mixing mayo.

"She gave me a sample, it tasted good but had a long way to go," said Elly Truesdell, a Whole Foods Regional Forager.

Elly Truesdell is one of Whole Foods Regional Foragers.

It's her job to forage and find local products she thinks will appeal to customers. She helped Joy's start up meet the stores standards and be ready to roll out.

"I worked with her labels and UPCs which are the bar codes," Truesdell said, "It's got a really great unique flavor just by taste alone it was an exciting product."

Six months after Sandy, JJ's Cilantro Lime Mayo is on the shelf, in several Whole Foods stores, and Joy is hoping to take it nationwide.

"It such a sense of accomplishment that one of the products I made is in one of the number one markets in the world," Ortiz said.

It's delicious, its gluten free, and has no preservatives.

You can like it to on our Facebook page where we've put a link on where to find it.

And in October, the one year anniversary of Sandy, Joy will donate a portion of the profit from every jar of JJ's Cilantro-Lime Mayo to help her neighbors in the Little Ferry Moonachie area, still recovering from the storm.

For more information on JJ's Cilantro Lime Mayo please visit: