This recipe is on 2 pieces of paper locked away in an OOMPAH Blueberry mold somewhere in Wankaland. We went into business last January & I was making it on my kitchen stove. I literally gave samples to customers in 8 oz jelly jars with no label. We had a couple places that really wanted to get the product. From January 1 to March 17 of last year I formed a corporation, designed a label, hired a label maker, signed a nondisclosure contract with a bottling company, had a nutrition company analyze my product, did some more legal work, and had 7 companies ready to buy part of my first shipment. All while working 54 hours a week at the Fire Station.It’s been fun but not easy. I think I’ve averaged about 90 hours a week since June. Since then I have hit the ground running trying to sell my product.
I don’t make it all anymore and haven’t since last March. During the week when I’m not at the Fire Station I’m either trying to market SPARKY’S or doing paperwork. I promised the wife that weekends belonged to her & the family, (unless I’m scheduled to work at the FS). It’s going to be a while before we see any profit though as most of you bushiness owners know first hand. One thing in our favor is that we didn’t borrow any money.I’ve made a lot of mistakes & found out that I can’t drive around and call on individual stores. I need to contact people higher up on the ladder. That has helped. Don’t get me wrong. I still deliver to most stores that my wholesalers don’t sell to. I’ll never forget the 1 store owner. They are the ones that got me started. I just need to concentrate on multi-unit franchises.
Speaking of growth. The wife & I still shake our heads. It’s grown a lot faster then we thought it would. To date we are in 8 states, 130+ retail outlets, 30+ restaurants & 3 wholesalers. Concerning the retail outlets. Personally I only got us into 9 Hy-Vees. HUSKER fans have gotten us into almost 40+ other ones. so it’s not just me. All of you have had a hand in it. It has come with a price though. I don’t sleep as well & I’ve lost about 10 pounds(I’m down to 168).
Just the other day she told me to quit working so hard. This was supposed to be a fun thing to do as a side business. I didn’t look at it that way. I looked at it as a way to retirement. I’m 51 & my wife is 53. If I can get her to retire in 5 years, build a small warehouse so there isn’t any lag time in production, travel with her to promote our product on my off days & have enough money saved up for my grand kids to go to college I would be satisfied. It dawned on me about a month ago. This business isn’t about me. I’m doing what I was put on this earth to do & that’s to take care of family. It’s about my wife, & family being financially secure after I’m gone. The average FF only lives 5 years after retirement & most of us retire before we are 60.
Once again, a huge thank you goes out to all of you for helping us.