MINI CASE STUDY
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“Whatever your choice may be, our gourmet sauces aim to please!”
Lynn Cox has been making City Chick BBQ Sauces for over 27 years. She originally started making the sauce as gifts for family and friends and special additions to potluck meals. After losing her job, she vowed it was time to finally bottle her sauces.
Originally, Lynn made two sauces- hot and mild and now serves 4 varieties: Hot, Mild, XX Hot, and Lo-Carb.City Chick BBQ Sauces are distinctive in their own right! With a unique flavor and fresh, quality ingredients, the sauces are guaranteed to give you “bragging rights” at your next family gathering!
1. In what year did your company begin operation?
After 25 years of making my BBQ Sauces for family and friends, I knew it was time to start making it a business and bottling my products for public. This effort began in 2011. Realizing I was not going to win the lottery I changed my prayer to create a business, or product or provide a service that would take-off immediately. God reminded me that I had been making BBQ Sauces for years and that I said I was going to bottle it someday. That someday was now. I immediately gathered the products needed to make samples of my mild sauce. I began to take samples to work on Sunday nights and by Friday I had sold enough to surpass my salary.
2. How do you define success? Are you “there” yet?
Success is a process. We are growing and are profitable and are now in the process of redefining our business. It is taking on a life of its own!
My husband Jefferson and I are the business (along with our dedicated staff and the independent reps we work with). We are working on establishing systems, tools and policies to grow our business through managing a management team. Our definition of success is being able to take a much deserved vacation and to spend more time with our daughter instead of worrying about our business functioning correctly and smoothly. We do not feel we are “there” yet, but we are getting closer.
3. How long did it take to be successful? What challenges did your face in establishing your company?
I really don’t consider myself successful, however, I do feel that I am a lot further along than I expected to be at this very moment.
4. How long did your initial roll-out for the above product line take (months or years?) and how much did it cost? ($5,000? $20,000?) What kind of funding was available to you?
I would purchase products from the profits that I was selling at my night job. After a divorce and losing my job, I invested $20,000 of my own money to purchase equipment, commercial grade appliances, remodel my garage into a commercial kitchen, attend specialty shows including the Minority Supplier Development Convention and obtaining my certifications for Tri-State Minority Supplier Development Council and Small Business Development Training. The Governor of Tennessee initiated the Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneurial Center offering training, mentoring and grant money to support my website and to obtain my LLC
5. Please share your insights and advice for new to industry companies.
Never compromise your products. I would strongly advise new to industry companies to seek out a mentor in the same industry and network, network, network with people in your industry.
6. How would you define your “vision”? Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 years?
My vision is to be the leading manufacturer of natural, fresh and great tasting sauces for every table in America, in family restaurants, and caterers.
Lynn Cox received her Business Management degree from the Mid-Continent University in 2012 and participated in the first pilot program with the Northwest Tennessee Entrepreneurship Program. She attended Virginia Tech Food Science and Technology and obtained her Acidified Foods Certification prescribed by the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure that quality goes into every jar of her BBQ sauces.
Lynn Cox, Owner
City Chick BBQ Sauces
816 Mosswood Drive
Union City, TN 38261