From Family Secret to Store Shelves: Young G’s Barbeque Sauce

From Family Secret to Store Shelves: Young G’s Barbeque Sauce

By: Sarah Schwendinger

During his youth, Gerald Young savored the secret family barbeque sauce his father had invented years ago. He dreamt of one day putting his father’s famous barbeque sauce on the market when he got older. His father was proud of the sauce he created, and had a loyal following with the Chicago Police Department and many others in their family neighborhood. Gerald knew that to take his family’s barbeque sauce to the next level, he needed higher education.

Gerald joined the National Guard in order to further his education, and was called up for active duty shortly after. Gerald was stationed in Afghanistan, and grew close with members of his unit. They discussed starting a business together when they returned home. “When things were slow, we used to sit around and discuss what we want to do if we make it back,” shared Gerald, he went on, “the topic of starting our own business actually came up pretty frequently.” Sadly, Gerald was the only one of the group who made it home, bringing those dreams of entrepreneurship along with him.

Once settled, Gerald was inspired and determined to start his business venture. He decided he would pursue his dream of selling his father’s famous barbeque sauce. He began by working with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Vocational Rehabilitation. To further his business plan Young began searching for a program to help him get his barbeque sauce on store shelves.
Gerald connected with the Business Concierge program for help with his business expansion strategy. Patrick Luensmann, lead Iowa Business Concierge helped train Gerald in how to grow his fledgling business. “Patrick really helped me understand that I couldn’t do this all by myself. He and his team provided me with actionable data and the right introductions to connections I needed to make to get my product in grocery stores.”

Young G’s barbeque sauce can now be found on the shelves of Hy-Vee stores across the Midwest. Recently, he has also expanded to the east coast. In June, Gerald was featured in Veteranpuer magazine (PDF), and nominated for Veteran-Owned Business of the Year. In the future, Gerald looks forward to sending his barbeque sauce to men and women currently serving overseas. “I want our men and women in uniform to really enjoy the family recipe,” Young stated. Next time you are looking at barbeque sauce in Hy-Vee keep an eye out for Young G’s Barbeque Sauce.

The Iowa Business Concierge service is made available free to business owners at IASourceLink. To learn more about this service visit The Business Concierge is powered by MyEntre.Net at the University of Northern Iowa, a program of UNI Business and Community Services (BCS).

IASourceLink is where business begins in Iowa.  IASourceLink is the premier online resource connecting entrepreneurs and small businesses to more than 300 resource providers across Iowa and brought to you by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) in collaboration with MyEntre.Net at UNI.”

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