This month, in honor of summertime and BBQ season, we have a spotlight on distribution entrepreneur / “domestic goddess”, Grace Torgoley, and her business, Torgoley Distribution. With endless energy and an easy going, loving attitude, Grace brings a family feel from her company to your dinner table.
In my early 20s I was living in Chicago working for a recruiting firm. This job gave me the confidence and knowledge I knew I’d need in the future. Learning from some of the best recruiters in the business I got a pretty good foothold on talking to people about their backgrounds, hobbies, where they’re headed and how they plan to get there. I’m a people person and my personality definitely fits my career path! Now, after 10 years staying home and raising my kids I’m ready to get back out there and create a name for myself in the world of BBQ!
2. What are your goals for your venture? Where do you see your company in 10 years?
In 1997, I met Eddie “Hoboken” McCarthy of Hoboken Eddie’s Sauces. I instantly fell head over heels for his BBQ sauce, love at first taste! Not only did I love his sauces, I had many other connections to him. Eddie has known my family for probably 30 years, since before he started his business.
Over the years Hoboken Eddie’s Sauces have won multiple prestigious awards yearly, just this past January, his Apple Brandy BBQ took home 1st place for “Fruit BBQ” at the Firey Foods Challenge in TX.
Currently Hoboken Eddie’s sells 125,000 bottles of sauce a year on the East coast. My goal is to double that in the next 5-10 years. I know with a lot of determination and leg work it’s definitely possible.
3. What were your biggest challenges (either getting started, once you got started, or both)?
Trying to decide what path I’d like to go down, I know that Hoboken Eddie’s line of sauces would knock the socks off of most who try them! I’ve always wanted my own business and I know that distributing this line of sauces would be a great way to make that happen and what better to line to bring out to the West coast than these sauces that I’m so passionate about. I wanted to start this business with a friend of mine, but I soon found out that our goals were very different and I felt that it was best to just do it on my own and with the support and guidance from my husband.
It was great how it all came together. After figuring out my business name, filing all my papers, becoming legal with the State of California, finding a catering company to store my first skid, 20 cases of 17 different types of sauces. I was finally ready to walk out the door and introducing them the public. I am a vendor at the Orange County Great Park Farmer’s Market in Irvine on Sundays and the Surf City Nights Farmer’s Market in Huntington Beach on Tuesday Nights. Its been a lot of fun and I’ve met a ton of great people. The rest of my time is spent finding retailers around OC, Los Angeles County, San Diego County and everywhere else I can get within an hour drive time. I know its a great time to be in the BBQ business with the summer right around the corner and knowing that 1 out of every 4 people in the US BBQ on the 4th of July.
I’ve been in plenty of positions where I wasn’t passionate about the product. Hoboken Eddie’s sauces are my favorite sauces, and I know that people will be returning for them. I’ve already had return customers and it feels great to be giving them a high quality product I really love. Passion is the key, and people that talk to me know I love these products and my excitement and the flavors of the sauces ultimately sell them.
5. What is one company that you admire and strive to emulate, and why?
CPS, Inc. in Westbrook, IL will always be my home away from home. Doug Christensen started his company when he was 33 years old with a small group of men and women. Now, 40 years later his company has 8 divisions with 70+ employees, placing thousands of applicants all over the nation. Doug has always been fair and ethical, demonstrating all the necessary personal and professional qualities to lead a great company. I hope to have something like him!
6. What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur who wants to start his/her own business?
Everyone is always being told to find something they love and have a passion for, something that makes them happy to provide to their clients. If you do that, you’ll have it made! Plan your day wisely, make and change goals often, and keep your nose to the grind stone especially when you feel like giving up, because just beyond that obstacle is a small victory waiting for you!
For more information about Grace Torgoley or Torgoley Distribution, visit www.torgoley.com
To see more posts from Breanna Bremer, please view her article library here.