Brother Tony: BY ASHLEY THOMAS – FLORIDA COURIER
While many Black businesses are struggling to keep their doors open during this downturn economy, Bruce Blunt Sr. of Orlando is flourishing with his Mr. Bojack’s catering service and homemade sauces that he calls “heavenly delicious.’’
The sauces now are in more than two-dozen stores throughout Central Florida with hopes of reaching more homes across the United States.
“We started with one, two, then three stores and now we are looking at going nationwide,” said Lynn Holmes of Mr. Bojack’s.
Blunt says the company not only bottles its sauces for retail sale but also makes it a point to secure vendor opportunities at sporting events, fairs and the like.
In big demand in Central Florida, the company has served up plenty of barbecue and chicken wings at NBA games, the Florida Classic, the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre and for celebrities, including Tom Joyner.
“My wing sauce was created first and my family members never stop asking for it, and when my friend and now business partner (Holmes) had her first taste of my sauces, she started yelling and kept telling me to put this in a bottle and sell it in all stores, and believe me she is a wing expert,” Blunt told the Florida Courier.
Close to closing national deal
Blunt and Holmes, now Mr. Bojack’s’ vice president, began pushing a line of sauces used for seasoning and marinating dishes of chicken, fish and barbecue.
Blunt and Holmes recently had talks with a national distributor and just got word they will be soon be closing the deal.
“They told us just the other day they’d like to talk with us a second time and will be moving forward,” Holmes said.
Blunt and Holmes were not always in the restaurant business. In fact, they worked together in the Orange County Department of Corrections. After Holmes tasted wings Blunt made in his home kitchen, she immediately knew the sauce needed to be bottled.
Starting in 1991, Mr. Bojack’s sauces found its way into many Central Floridians homes via a small catering service. Instantly the orders increased for barbecue ribs, chicken, ham and turkey.
“The people wanted that great taste all year long for every occasion,” Blunt said.
Blunt says his special grilling sauce came from his father.
“My father, as well as other family members would always gather on holidays, or just backyard weekend cookouts, and I would always stand around nearby and watch everyone prepare their special foods, and my father would start the grill, and make his special sauce,” he relates.
“As I grew older and started travel throughout the United States military, I shared my outdoor grilling experience with not only with my friends, but with people with different nationalities. They all seem to enjoy my cooking and would share their praises by saying ‘more please’ or ‘this is heavenly delicious.’ ’’
‘Slappin’ sauce’ a bestseller
Following a tasting given at an African-American Business expo hosted by the city of Orlando, Mr. Bojack’s was asked to be the official barbecue ribs provider for next year’s Central Florida Fair in Orlando.
When asked which sauce was No. 1, Blunt says, “They are all my No. 1, but my bestseller is the sweet and spicy garlic wing sauce,” which he also refers to as “slappin sauce.”
“I’ve already done the work for you,” he continued, referring to the sweet, spicy, hot or mild seasonings in each of his sauces.
Blunt and Holmes are promoting the business as “The taste you never had, designed to take a bit of the prep time out and put great flavor in a wide variety of dishes.’’ The sauces retail online for $5.95 to $9.95 per bottle.
The secret to their success thus far? “Quality ingredients, love and faith.’’