We asked each of our Fightin' Four to give us a little peek into their origin story, how they built their brand and how Kansas City can become America's most entrepreneurial city. Here's what FireBug BBQ, the 2014 champs of the Microenterprises, had to say.
Award winning gourmet sauce creator, private chef and owner of FireBugBBQ.com and FlavorTrade.com, Shannon Kimball, found a love for cooking as soon as he could reach the stovetop and hold a spoon. Today, as a barbeque expert, his cooking style and unique sauces have won the attention of the Midwest culinary circle.
Shannon’s handcrafted sauces are produced in small batches from locally sourced all natural ingredients and have surprised the competition by winning several taste awards including “People’s Choice” - American Royal BBQ Sauce contest 2010, First Place- Specialty Hot-Great American BBQ Sauce contest 2010 and recently his FireBug Grilling Sauce-Hot won the American Royal - 2013 “Best Sauce on the Planet” Award! Kimball says, “Besides quality ingredients. Pride, passion and patience is the key to any great recipe!”
Things have heated up in 2014 due to the growth of FireBug BBQ, a new manufacturing facility is opening soon and will offer jobs to the Kansas City and surrounding communities and programs to assist local culinary entrepreneurs with product development and distribution support.
Growth management and distribution were my biggest hurdles starting out and we want to help others navigate their way to success.
Buzz Brands and Mentors
I would like to express my gratitude to my Kansas City mentors and buzz worthy companies, Ron & Joann Rupp, RQ Barbecue; Ralph & Carol Maser, Maser Industries and Nina Ward, KC Classic Gourmet Foods.
These valuable mentors have escalated my successes. I really enjoy following local brands such as Hayward’s Pit Bar-B-Que, The American Royal, Boulevard Brewing Company and Sporting KC to study and keep up with social media and trends. I feel Kansas City has some of the best entrepreneurial spirits in the country.
Other important resources I find vital to our growth are organizations like Local Start.org and KCLocal.org.