Date: April 4, 2009
About: Tim Muehring - Class of 1977
Camp Point man turns ‘mmm-mmm good’ into a business success
Aaron “Bubba” St. Clair might want to look into petitioning the Food Network for a show of his own.
St. Clair, a native of Camp Point, seems to be a natural when it comes to food enhancement. The proof is on supermarket shelves throughout the Midwest.
“Lickins” brand barbecue products are the result of his own personal recipes that he and his father-in-law, Tim Muehring, of Quincy are marketing through their fourth-year business, Midwest Grocers. Muehring is the owner and St. Clair the general manager.
The Lickins barbecue sauces have been a success since day one, having hit store shelves less than a year ago. The sauce received nationwide notice when it placed runner-up in one of the 35th annual “Sauce of the Planet” competitions in Kansas City, Mo., last fall. The event is sponsored by the world-famous Kansas City Barbecue Society.
“Sauce of the Planet” represents the World Series of barbecue. The event annually attracts more than 300,000 people to sample the finest barbecue cuisine from vendors across the nation.
How Lickins got to that level is as interesting as the success the product is currently enjoying.
“We came up with it in our garage,” St. Clair said.
“We were cooking some turkeys for friends around Thanksgiving in 2007,” Muehring said. “We decided to make some barbecue sauce.”
The concoction St. Clair came up with was an obvious winner.
“When we tasted it, we both thought, ‘Darn, this is good,’” Muehring said.
They eventually worked with chefs in Kansas City to produce a finished product.
“We had to keep sending it back until they got it just right,” St. Clair said. “We sent it back five times.”
Despite the delays, the product first began appearing on store shelves in July 2008. A few months later came the success in the American Royal and now Lickins is showing up all over the Midwest, including store shelves in Chicago.
There are three flavors of Lickins sauces — wild, all-purpose and honey mustard — and two rubs currently available.
The Lickins family will soon be growing.
“A new sauce is due out in May,” St. Clair said.
St. Clair and Muehring have also developed a reputation in West-Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri for assisting worthy causes.
“We know if we give to the community, they’ll give back,” Muehring said. “We don’t pick a particular cause, we try and focus on needs. If you live in a community you should help that community, especially in today’s world.”
More information on the Lickins line of barbecue products and other items can be found at the www.midwestgrocer.com Web site.
— firstname.lastname@example.org / 221-3377