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Hot Sauce Entrepreneur Pours Himself into Real Estate

Tangy condiments and Mexican food specialties don’t necessarily mix with real estate, but for one Flagstaff realtor, the combination makes the perfect blend.

After achieving great success with his popular hot sauce, tortillas and tamales, local entrepreneur and owner of RisingHy and Tortilla Lady, Michael Konefal has added realtor to his resume.

“I’ve always had a passion for real estate,” said Konefal, an agent with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty. “My best friend’s mom was a realtor and helping people find their dream homes attracted me to real estate. If I can help to be a steward, that would be great.”

Married with two young children, Konefal graduated from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in 2005, with a degree in public relations and a minor in Spanish. He has lived in Arizona since 1989.

During college, a failed and very messy attempt to brew beer led to an unlikely present from a friend. “That holiday season, my best buddy bought me a make-your-own hot sauce kit. He told me if I can’t brew beer maybe I should try something else. So, I started making hot sauce. My college roommates were my guinea pigs.”

Using an unconventional recipe devoid of vinegar, Konefal’s hot sauce blends are made with all-natural ingredients. Flavors include Habanero Hot, GreenGo Sauce, Chipotle Stinger and Honey Mustard. Infused with olive oil, his Citrus Cranberry and Devil Salt can be found online and at his Flagstaff retail store, 2114 N. Fourth St.

In 2011, the Tortilla Lady, a local business that has been in Flagstaff since 2000, was up for sale, and Konefal, along with business partner, Dawn Graham, made an offer and purchased the business.

Graham knew Konefal through her husband, who went to college with his older brother. “I started making hot sauce with Michael and we sold at farmers markets, home shows throughout the state and other places. Michael is a driver and very passionate about the things he takes on, which makes it easy to have a partner with those qualities.”

Although they have staff to help out with both businesses, Graham and Konefal say they are 100% involved. The tortillas are sold in select grocery stores in Flagstaff and around the state.

Now, Konefal is ready to pursue his goal of helping people realize their home ownership dreams. “I’ve been blessed to be able to develop great relationships in Flagstaff and hope that transfers well into real estate.”

“We are proud to welcome Mike Konefal to the Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty family,” said Russ Lyon Sotherby’s Sales Manager Bret Lamberson. “He has been a fantastic part of our business community here in Flagstaff for well over a decade. His local expertise and integrity will be a great asset for anyone in the real estate market.”

Konefal, an avid skier and fisherman, is bringing his familiarity with the Flagstaff outdoors lifestyle, knowledge of the area and business sense to his new pursuit.

“Mike’s local knowledge of Flagstaff was immediately evident and we are so happy with where we ended up utilizing his services,” said new resident Jessica Zucker.

Konefal’s father-in-law agrees. “Referring a family member is the highest compliment I could give to Mike and he has been a pleasure to work with,” said Flagstaff attorney Bryon Middlebrook. “From start to finish, we had 110% confidence the process would be smooth and he delivered. We are very pleased.” FBN

By V. Ronnie Tierney, FBN

Konefal can be reached at Michael.Konefal@russlyon.com or 928-853-3810.

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One Response to Hot Sauce Entrepreneur Pours Himself into Real Estate

  1. Kit Brennan January 9, 2021 at 2:11 PM #

    An incredible young man! I have enjoyed his food products for years

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