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Custard Stand seen on Huffington Post, AOL

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What started out as West Virginia's secret, tucked away in Webster Springs, is well on its way to becoming a nationally known brand.

The Custard Stand showed up on the AOL homepage Oct. 23, after a Huffington Post column from Marlo Thomas about Angie and Dee Cowger's family recipe for chili turned into a million-dollar business.

"The interview process included several phone calls and about six hours of conversation, along with proofing a first and final draft, and then gathering all the pictures," Angie Cowger said about the story process, which included providing more than 130 pictures. "While I was familiar with the Huffington Post and AOL online, it was still amazing when we received the links and could actually see our story and photos online."

It's led to quite a flurry of activity for the business, which was named one of The State Journal's 55 Good Things about West Virginia and has six restaurants throughout West Virginia in Webster Springs, Flatwoods, Oak Hill, Danville, Elkins and Mannington.

"We have received congratulatory emails from all over, requests for product information and assistance with marketing other people's products, along with franchise requests from Florida, California, Michigan, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Maine and Kansas and we're responding to media requests," she said. "We will be packaging 20 mail orders next week and shipping Custard Stand Hot Dog Chili and Chili Soup to 13 different states, and that was just of 4 p.m. today."

The Huffington Post article was shared more than 400 times in its first day.

Cowger said the products are available through a variety of retailers in about 15 states as well as at CustardStand.com.