June 20, 2013
May of this year marked the 1st anniversary of our initial bottling and we really had a great month. Tampa Bay based Bay News 9 and ABC 28 Action News both did feature video news stories on us and those can be found by clicking the Media tab on this website. Thanks to Summer Smith and Brad Davis for two unique approaches to the E’s Best Barbecue adventure over the last year.
Our 1st anniversary tasting event at The Chop Shop was a huge success. We saw many people who had become regular buyers of our sauces and many new customers as well. Chop Shop customer Terry West won the Gift Basket drawing at the end of the day. We sold nearly as much sauce on that day as we did at our first tasting exactly one year ago. It was a great day!
No sooner had we finished our anniversary promotions, when it was time to go out and find more retailers and plan our June road trip. Thanks to friend Sue Fox, we landed Buckland Farm Market in Warrenton, Virginia. We hope to personally visit and do a tasting there some time in July. Bart and Anela Culpepper introduced is to Steve Garrett, owner of 2 Piggly Wiggly stores in Troy, Alabama and he is now stocking our sauces in both stores! These additions bring our total locations to 40. We look back to a year ago and never would have imagined that we would have grown this fast. God is good!
Our recent road trip this month (June) was incredible. We headed to Troy Alabama, to deliver cases of sauce to the Piggly Wiggly stores and do a 2 hour tasting there before heading to Cleveland Tennessee and Cookes Food Store. In Troy, we met Piggly Wiggly owners Steve and Jennifer Garrett and our tasting was an overwhelming success, so much so that Steve purchased additional inventory before we left town. Bart, Anela and Nicole Culpepper were also able to stop by, which was a special time for us.
After the Troy tasting, we headed out for a 6 hour drive to Cleveland Tennessee. Barb and Dave Olson invited us to stay at their house overnight and we had a great visit. The next day, Saturday was the Grillz Gone Wild event at Cookes! Benji Widener from Cookes coordinated this event, which included the Holy Smoke barbecue team, E’s Best, Sannie Mae’s Heirloom Foods, and several other food vendors, plus an all day live remote from WCLE radio. We were interviewed live and people who heard our interview stopped by to meet us and sample our sauces. We had a great day and to top it off, we left Benji with another large restock before leaving town that afternoon. We then drove 3 hours to Waynesville, NC, for a much needed rest on Sunday. Thanks go out to the Powell family for their hospitality in Waynesville. Sunday morning we stopped by one of our retailers The Kitchen Shop, to say hello, and then had brunch at The Gateway Club. Then we chilled out the rest of the day.
Monday morning we headed back to Florida with a stop in Greenville, SC to meet with a prospective retailer. The meeting went very well and we hope to have some news to report in a week or two. We arrived back home Monday evening and thanked God for a safe and productive trip. Every time we do one of these trips, we always see God working both with and beyond our own plans. The people we met are the biggest memory from the trip. Thanks to Steve and Jennifer for adding our sauces to their Piggly Wiggly stores. From what we could tell, it looks like it will take off there. Also, thanks to Benji and Keith from Cookes who told us when we left that they consider us “family” and we feel the same about them. Building relationships has always been what this E’s Best Barbecue Sauce adventure has been about. We may not have known it when we first started, but we know it now beyond a shadow of a doubt. We appreciate every one of our retail partners and their customers. We appreciate those prospective retailers who have not said “yes” yet, and even those that have said “no.” We learn something from each person we meet.
We wrap up June 2013 thankful for God’s provision and His abundant blessings on our lives. We have much planned in July but we are always ready to change our plans when God steps in and reveals something new. So until next time, remember it’s the heart of barbecue season so “Get Your Sauce On!”