Five Questions with Ethan Holmes of Holmes Made Foods, LLC

Holmes Made Foods is the company behind Holmes Mouthwatering Applesauce. Shaker Heights native Ethan Holmes launched the business when he was just 15 years old, using his grandfather’s applesauce recipe. Today, Holmes Mouthwatering Applesauce is available across the nation in stores such as Acme Fresh Market, Giant Eagle, Heinen’s, Lucky’s Market, Target, Whole Foods, Kroger, Marc’s and Zagara’s Marketplace.


What inspired you to create your business?

The idea for Holmes Mouthwatering Applesauce strictly came from the fact that I loved entrepreneurship as a teenager. At that young age I said, “Hey, I want to make a legitimate business—a legitimate product.”

I then went to my grandfather and I said, “Hey, can you show me how to make applesauce? It’s a product everyone loves, but it’s always made the same—sugary and bland. So maybe you can show me how to do it.” He took me to the kitchen and we ended up making our first batch. I spent a year innovating that product and then I had Holmes Mouthwatering Applesauce.

What separates Holmes Made Foods from the competition?

Our product is all-natural. We don’t use ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) or any artificial preservatives or ingredients. All we use is whole fruit.

We also have a chunky consistency, so we spend a lot of time making sure you get real chunks of pears and apples in each bite instead of delivering a baby food consistency.

How did you first learn about JumpStart?

I first started working with JumpStart when I was a sophomore at Hiram College studying entrepreneurship. I was part of their student competition and it gave me a lot of experience and allowed me to grow my company—and we wound up winning second place in the competition that year.

Has anything surprised you about the Core City: Cleveland Impact Program?

What has surprised me is how far they go to make sure you’re really knowing and understanding your goals and executing on them. We do milestone tracking as well as saying, “This is the goal you want to do. How are we going to get you there? And then how much money is it going to take?”

What are your future plans for your business?

Where I see Holmes Mouthwatering Applesauce in the near future is being able to really grow in what we’ve already achieved. Being able to expand into more regions and more states. And then within five to 10 years, I want to expand to new products, such as juice, fruit snacks and other items to really make us a household name.


Learn more about Holmes Made Foods, LLC at Then, come watch Ethan pitch his business live on December 4 for a chance to win up to $10,000 at the Core City: Cleveland Entrepreneur Showcase.