Small Businesses Starting Out Benefit From "Buy Local" Push

Published 03/28 2014 07:09PM

Updated 03/28 2014 07:27PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Taking a hobby and making it profitable. Brave entrepreneurs all over the Ozarks are working to make it happen by taking something you love to do and making it a business.

Aside from whatever it is your selling you have to brand, package and market your product. But, the "buy local" push is helping some locals give their big idea a go.

For Greg Pearman and partner their product started out as a summertime snack.

"We started this on the float trip and we always called them 'Float Trip Pickles,'" said Pearman.

They were then inspired by another jar of pickles that was not up to snuff.

"Someone had given us some pickles that we thought, they're okay but we can do better than this," said Pearman.

Pearman says they came up with their own recipe.

"So we added jalapenos and started playing around with it," he said.

By day these men are attorneys, but at night and in their free time they're enterprising foodies.

"We went into business three years ago and we now use a commercial kitchen and we sell to about 100 stores around Missouri. St. Louis, Kansas City, Southwest Missouri and into Arkansas," said Pearman.

Pearman says involvement in community groups like the Rotary Club and ties with the Chamber of Commerce have help them market. 

"And we do events like this,The Man Show, The Rock 'n Ribs barbeque festival," Pearman said.

Johnny Martin of Papa Johnny's Ozark Barbeque is building his business one jar at a time.

"When we moved from Amarillo to Springfield we could not find good barbeque sauce so I decided to just make my own. Then people tried it and loved it and thought I should get it on the market" said Martin.

Martin says marketing has its challenges.

"You know and having the time to contact as many places as I need to contact," said Martin

But, Martin is now selling in 13 stores like Harter House, Mama Jeans and Hy-Vee. He has found the push to buy and sell more local foods has meant a lot for his product.

"I contacted some stores and they liked the idea of it being a local product so they put it in their stores and it just started growing from there," Martin said.

The Small Business Administration and the Senior Corp of Retired Executives better known as SCORE both do small business counseling. There are also a number of local small business networking groups.

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