Paula Deen is coming back “ya’all”

Release Date: 18-Feb-2014

Steven Nanula, a food-industry veteran brought in to be chief executive of Paula Deen Ventures, said the company is in talks with TV networks, retail chains and other possible partners, but has yet to announce a television contract or a major deal. The company declined to name the TV networks and potential partners it has contacted. With her homey Southern drawl and her decadent fried foods, Ms. Deen became one of the best known in the crop of television celebrity chefs.

Be an extraordinary risk. "Our investment allows the Paula Deen brand to expand their relationships and the partnerships that are already in place, and support those partnerships on a go-forward basis," said Mr. Najafi, who is also a part owner of the Phoenix Suns NBA franchise.

Paula Deen says she draws confidence from the "hundreds of thousands of folks who signed up on Facebook's 'We Support Paula Deen' page," adding that "hundreds of thousands of my fans sent me messages of love and support."

In the coming months, she said, she will work on expanding from that base of support. "I hope one day that everyone can have the opportunity to know who I am, as my family, friends and fans do," she said.

Several companies, including cookware distributor Meyer Foods, furniture manufacturer Universal Furniture and poultry producer Springer Mountain Chickens. Springer Mountain said sales of Ms. Deen's products have grown by 35% in the past two quarters.

Ms. Deen's in-store appearances in Dallas, Houston and Buffalo have drawn "standing room only crowds," Mr. Nanula said. Her company adds that subscriptions to Paula Deen Magazine have risen more than 40% in the past year.

"The important thing to remember is that her fan base is rabid. Her Facebook fan base has more than doubled in the past year," Mr. Najafi said.

"The Paula Deen brand is alive and well."

Stay tuned for more about Paula Deen and Hanks Fine Furniture