Founder: Tory Campbell
Year founded: 2014
Product description: Barbecue sauces made with Southern-style indulgence and Pacific Northwest consciousness.
Yearly sales: "In the black."
Is it profitable?: Yes.
Available at: All Oregon and Vancouver, Wash., New Season Markets, Chuck's Produce & Street Market, Made Here PDX, the Meating Place, Montavilla Farmers Market, Portland Night Market, Beaverton Farmers Market and Vancouver Night Market
Price: $6.99 for sauces, $8.99 for rubs.
Growing up in Portland in the '80s, Tory Campbell watched his grandparents Felton and Mary Campbell convert an old house on the corner of Southeast 87th Avenue and Powell Boulevard into a Texas-style barbecue mecca.
After it opened, Campbells BBQ became a comfort-food haven in a neighborhood plagued by racial tensions. "Here we were as an African-American family, kind of planted there and creating a place to welcome that community in," says Campbell. "They definitely became a beloved restaurant that people took pride in in the community. In falling in love with the food, [the community] also fell in love with my grandparents and our family."
Campbell's grandparents sold their restaurant 25 years ago. But in 2014, Campbell decided to he wanted to carry on their legacy. So he founded Felton & Mary's, which sells a sweet and spicy rub, plus three of his grandparents' barbecue sauces in glass jars wrapped with a label the same turquoise color as the carpet in Felton and Mary's home. The medium, hot and smoky brown sugar sauces are all made with a classic, velvety base of tomato puree, sugar and Worcestershire sauce, and pack the intense tang and sweetness of larger commercial brands, without tasting like they were manufactured in a lab.
Felton & Mary's first distribution account was a local spotlight deal with New Seasons—Campbell landed a meeting with some executives who turned out to be former regulars at his grandparents' restaurant. "That got us instant distribution in Oregon, Washington and California," says Campbell. "It was a lot of learning I had to do right away."
Campbell is planning to expand Felton & Mary's product base soon—though he's not ready to discuss details—and is aiming for eventual international distribution. To expand the company, Campbell plans to lead with his family's story.
"You can only do so much with, 'I have natural hickory seasoning and brown sugar,'" he says. "It is about the taste, but people care deeply about 'What are the origins of this food that I'm eating?' That was something I felt I could do—when you taste this, you really are tasting something that's coming from people who did this with love."
Guilty pleasure snack: "Salt-and-vinegar potato chips—the one snack in my home no one else likes, so they don't disappear quickly and I get to savor them."
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