489 - Don't let this episode "rub" you the wrong way: Tom interviews John Fuhrman - Screw The Commute

489 – Don’t let this episode “rub” you the wrong way: Tom interviews John Fuhrman

John Fuhrman's here. He returned to his birthplace of Winter Harbor, Maine, and he had this wild idea to build a veteran owned barbecue, dry rub company in a lobster village. And his unique blend of spices and Maine ingredients, good quality ingredients, not sawdust, like a lot of the big companies throw in stuff, has won awards and competition in cooking contests, and now it's sold across the USA.

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Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 489

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[04:41] Tom's introduction to John Fuhrman

[07:09] “Dry Rub” What it is and how it's made

[19:50] Competing with the big companies

[23:38] Hiring a Veteran for a year

[25:26] Giving away 30% of the company

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Episode 489 – John Fuhrman
[00:00:08] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.

[00:00:24] Hey everybody it's Tom here with episode four hundred and eighty nine is Screw the Commute podcast. We're here with John Fuhrman and we're here as part of Vetrepreneur month. Every year we celebrate our veterans. And I got to tell you, last week, I was going to record a veteran. And both of us said, you know what, we just don't feel like it. It was the day that those 13 folks got killed in Afghanistan and neither one of us could just yuck it up on a podcast at that time. So we want to really highlight our our veteran entrepreneur entrepreneurs and all the great things that they're doing and thank them for all the great things they've done for us to keep us safe. So that's what this month is all about. And John is a Navy veteran. And we go way back to the point where we were riding camels in Morocco together. Not the same camel for camel would have, you know, probably committed suicide. We're both on one. And I don't know. I see if he remembers how Pizza Hut figured into that equation. But but anyway, he's also got this crazy program. I think he's I must be getting senile or something. He's given away 30 percent of his company in the next 90 days. And I don't know how that's going to work. So we'll get him to explain that for him, for us. But anyway, he's got a a dry rub company out of Maine. And I don't know I don't know anything about dry rubs.

[00:01:59] It sounds kind of painful to me, but it'll tell us all about it. All right. So hope you didn't miss that. And it was just so happened. Episode four eighty eight was veteran Frank Manto, who invented another edible product called Crayons Ready to Eat. It's a play on words of meals ready to eat. He's a Marine and the Marines lately have been called crayon eaters rather than jarheads. And I don't know, bullet sponges. Oh, yeah, I think they call so. So he was episode 488. Anytime you want to get to a back episode, just go to screwthecommute.com slash and then the episode number 488. All right. How'd you like to make big money by referring my stuff? Well, you can make anywhere from eight dollars and fifty cents for a simple e-book referral to up to more than 5000 bucks for a speaking engagement referral and everything in between. If you're interested in that kind of stuff, email me at Tom@screwthecommute.com. We'll give you details. Now pick up a copy of our automation ebook. It saved me millions of keystrokes and we actually figured it out a couple of years ago. Seven and a half million keystrokes, we estimate. It saved me. It's also allowed me to ethically steal customers from people to slow to get back to people. And it's cut my workload down like crazy. So all the tips and tricks I use are in this book. We sell it for 27 bucks, but it's yours free for listening to the show. Grab a copy at screwthecommute.com/automatefree. And while you're at it, pick up a copy of our podcast app at screwthecommute.com/app. We can put us on your cell phone and tablet and take us with you on the road. All right. Let me tell you quickly about the the legacy program I'm running. It's a pilot program to help folks with physical disabilities get trained and highly in demand skill. Internet marketing and digital marketing is the skill and not only get them trained remotely so they don't have to travel, but get them hired in good jobs or start their own business or both. So I'm running a pilot program for five people. And as soon as I prove the concept, I'm going to roll it out really big and go for like grant and foundation money and stuff to help loads and loads of people, including veterans that have mobility problem. So check that out at IMTCVA.org/disabilities. All this stuff will be clickable in the show notes.

[00:04:42] All right, let's get to the main event. John Fuhrman's here. He returned to his birthplace of Winter Harbor, Maine, and he had this wild idea to build a veteran owned barbecue, dry rub company in a lobster village. And his unique blend of spices and Maine ingredients, good quality ingredients, not sawdust, like a lot of the big companies throw in stuff, has won awards and competition in cooking contests, and now it's sold across the USA. John, are you ready to screw? The commute?

[00:05:24] I am. Let's screw.

[00:05:26] All right. Oh, man. Do we go way back? Do you remember our camel rides in Morocco?

[00:05:33] Oh, yes, I do. And I remember the marketplace. And sitting on the floor of a restaurant, they said it was a pillow, but it was the floor. Yes.

[00:05:43] I remember what I remember so vividly as we were riding the camels. And we and we came up on this really ornate tent giant tent, like an outdoor tent and all these, you know, tassels hanging off of the tables and everything and thought, oh, they're going to make a big feast with a big lamb or pig going or something. So we're all sitting around there next to these camels. And the Pizza Hut delivery truck drove up through the desert.

[00:06:12] Do you remember? Right? I do. I do. Yeah. And I remember. Oh, gosh, I was one of the other guys that were with us. We we later on got back to the hotel and they had the Rotary meeting sign out there. Rotary meets here Thursday afternoon. So I'm like we're halfway around the world and they're having rotary meetings here. You know, I wonder what they serve exactly as a chicken.

[00:06:38] Right now, I don't know if that was you or in this other guy that his little boy was on the camel with me this year.

[00:06:46] I must know I that was OK.

[00:06:49] Yeah, because I remember one of the little ones riding with me. But anyway, there a lot of fun. I still have the the promo picture of me dressed up like a chic. And I, I had the promo picture with me on my cell phone with a laptop up on the camel.

[00:07:04] Oh, my goodness. So yeah, though those are the days.

[00:07:09] Yeah. So tell us about this dry rub stuff. I mean, I'm the worst cook on earth. I mean, I can make a little bit of stuff, but when you when we start talking about this, I'll send you a dry rub of stuff and know what do I do with these bathe in it. What do you do?

[00:07:26] Yeah, you can. That's right. Yeah. Cure's male pattern baldness. Now, if you get it in your car, it'll give you 10 Moyal miles to the grill. Oh, boy. Yeah, I just want to get all the false claims out of the way. But, you know, a a dry rub is is nothing more than a batch of seasoning spices. What have you put together to create a particular flavor? Mostly, you know, in this country, any combination of dry rubs is usually associated with barbecue. Mm hmm. And, you know, you have your top barbecue chefs in the country, the best barbecue restaurants in the country, and they kind of blend their own from scratch, their own flavors. And that becomes their signature. Much, much like Italian restaurants have their own twist on their sauce. So they're gravy. And that what we decided to do was to take that mentality, that custom blend blended ourselves for the average. Cook for barbecuer to save them time and and really control the ingredients so that the right spices go together. Otherwise you're experimenting, you know. So the rest of your life looking for that that flavor that you're going to enjoy,

[00:08:46] That you're using really high quality local stuff. Right. Because some of these major companies, I would imagine I was teasing about sawdust, but I mean, I'm probably not too far off the mark that, you know, they they don't use the best quality stuff.

[00:09:04] No, it's the economies of scale. It's all in how you want to market. You know, we decided we were going to go after that. No, I don't want to say foodies, because most people at barbecue don't consider themselves foodies, but people that wanted that that top end flavor, you know, that you would get at a individually owned barbecue joint as opposed to a franchise. You know, they want that uniqueness. And, you know, being back in Maine. I looked at two things. I spent five years in the Carolinas where I really learned dry rub and a lot about barbecue. So when I came up here and said, you know what, I think this is a good fit for me, I'm going to do it. I wanted to make it Maine, like in more than just Maine. You know, Bob, mothers, right. The Maine accent when you say it right. It's kind of cute. But what Maine ingredients can I use and can I do that and support real Maine companies? So, you know, we went out into the woods of Madison, Maine, and found a company called Maine Maple, and they supply us with the maple crystals that we use as opposed to brown sugar.

[00:10:26] And let me stop you for a second, because Bob and Mother's is the name of your company, right? Yeah. So people probably wonder what that what is that?

[00:10:34] Well, and that was that was one of our I sit around having a beer and calling it a marketing meeting. You know, we were chatting and I said, you know, I really and this is even before I said dry rub, I said I'd really like to start a company up here because I think I can give opportunity to some of the younger people that are moving away, because there's not a lot of opportunities on the Maine coast unless you want to be a lobsterman. And. You know, that's that's one of the things up here, literally, Winter Harbor is a lobster village. They have a fleet of boats. You know, if you're eating lobster on the East Coast, there's a good chance it came from or at least one of them came from Winter Harbor. So the older lobstermen and the older lobster boats are ocea nightmares. I mean, the the engines have no mufflers on them. So they're like ridiculously loud. And all the old lobstermen are deaf. And they all start calling each other Bob. Hey, Bob, how are you, Bob Bauer? You know, rather loudly in in restaurants and stuff, if you go out to breakfast, you know, early in the morning before they hit the boat, you know how they go about doing good, Bob. Yeah. And if you see him at dinner time, they're usually there with their wives. And, of course, their wives are elderly. And the main male, after I and I don't know what the age limit is, starts calling their wife. Mother. Come on, mother. We're going to go to dinner. Come on, mother, we're going to go home. And I went, that's the name Bob and Mothers. Now, I

[00:12:11] Got to tell you where I come from. You got to be careful calling somebody a mother.

[00:12:15] Well, actually, people often ask me when I'm doing interviews, are you Bob or mother? I said it depends on the day and who's with me. Sometimes I'm a mother, but for the reasons you mentioned. So, you know, we came up with the name and one of my friends who's who was really into marketing and corporate branding was like, hey, it's a great name, but what's mean about it? And that's like I said, when we went off of that search for the ingredients. So we had our maple crystals. We're like, OK, that's cool. And then about two hours north of me, almost on the Canadian border is a town of Eastport, which is the easternmost point in the United States. And they call it the Sunrise Town because they see sunrise before everybody else in the country. But they also have a place up there called raised mustard and raises the oldest mustard company in America that's still St. Grinds mustard. And before I made my first batch of rubs, I went up there, walked in, I met the family. They've been the same family since they opened the doors, multigenerational.

[00:13:27] And I said, listen, I got this idea. I want to make a dry rub. And we use ground. Mustard is one of the ingredients that we'd like you guys to do it. Now, this is a company. It's sold in gourmet shops all over the place. They have a huge Web business, hundreds of flavors of mustard. And literally on a handshake, Tom, they went, OK, we'll do it for you, and we're not going to do it for anyone else. Wow. And I was like, really? Ok, that's great enough. And I think my first order from them was like compound the mustard, you know, where, you know, now we get we go up on a weekly basis and we get anywhere from from 50 to 200 pounds of it, you know. And they've been great with this ever, ever since. So, you know, we added those dry blueberry powder, the fresh scrambled espresso. You know, everything in there is 100 percent natural. There's no preservatives. There's nothing on the label that you can't pronounce. In fact, I think paprika is the word with the most syllables on earth.

[00:14:34] So now with the espresso, is that have caffeine in it? Oh, yeah. So that's part of it. Okay. And also, I wanted to mention that that the Pet Rock came about over a drunken thing at a bar, and it went pretty big for a long time.

[00:14:53] Well, you know, beer and barbecue always went together. And but, you know, the funny thing is. Getting back up here into Maine and relearning and rethinking their traditions. Mainers, by nature, don't like to buy. What I call one off products, you know, they're not going to go by a special tool to do one particular job. It's just not in their nature. It's the same thing with seasonings, you know, so if I if I came out and said, this is Bob and Mother's Steak seasoning, they're not really thrilled with that. You know, unless they're a family that only eat or steak. So we took that into consideration when we were figuring out the combination of spices. Will it go on any ship? And our intent was when we say anything, we we mean things that used to have fur fins or feathers. You know, we're talking meat, fish, poultry. What our customers literally from the beginning started emailing us and sending us recipes. And you're trying it on this. And we tried it on that. And, you know, when we do our pitches to stores, we we tell them our customers use it on everything from avocado toast to fried zucchini. And I'm going to be honest with you, I didn't know what avocado toast was. I still, though. Yeah. You know, but evidently if you put my rub on mean, it's pretty darn good. So, you know, we thought about that. The last element to to the development of it was I live in Maine.

[00:16:33] Ok. Maine. People come up to me to enjoy phenomenal summers. And then run like hell when winter comes. Well, I don't I don't have that luxury or desire. You know, it's not that I like winter. Winter up here, quite frankly, sucks. But, you know, it makes you appreciate summer. So I had to come up with a rub. That one is 20 below outside in a blizzard. You're not going out want to leave sunlight anymore and going out to try and light off a smoker or a grill, you know, A, it's hard to keep it lit with the wind going and be you know, when you do real barbecue, you're cooking to the temperature of the food. And what is 20 below are it's hard to ever get to that temperature. So I created a blend that had like the paprika we use as a smoke paprika. And in our radiant heat, we add to that a smoked Chipotle. So what that allows you to do is, is really get barbecue flavor. From your other just cooking it low and slow and your. So if you want a rack of ribs in February. You set your eye. You set the other two hundred and fifty degrees. Put our robes on both sides of the rim. Put them in there for two, two and a half hours. And you've got barbecue tasting ribs. Yeah, but

[00:17:57] You said you even made coleslaw dressing. Yeah. Yeah. But by the way, Chipotle also has the same number of syllables as paprika.

[00:18:10] All right. Well, we're going to change all our marketing materials. But yeah, I mean, there are so many sign things. You know, you take it for me. And this is me personally when I'm cooking a particular meat barbecue style and I'll just use ribs as an example. One of my favorite side dishes is coleslaw. It's a traditional barbecue side dish. And so I'll use our our Downie's did a which is the milder of the two flavors on the meat, because I really want to taste to me with some seasoning. I'll take the honey in here and you can use it. But I just prefer the honey and heat and I'll mix it with mayonnaise. It's literally that simple. Just mix it up in mayonnaise. You know, taste it to where it's where you want it. And, you know, you can chop up your own cabbage or whatever else you like and coleslaw. I get lazy. I go down. I buy a bag of calls. Yeah, I know. Right. It's already shredded. I just poured in a bowl. I pour this mayonnaise, mix it all up, let it, you know, put it in the refrigerator, and then I start cooking my ribs so that by the time the ribs are done, the flavor is really blended with the coleslaw. And you know that coleslaw has a very, very slight bite to it and a little bit of a smoky flavor.

[00:19:32] So I'm saying this. I'm I'm picturing like a cookbook, a hardback cookbook with with a a bottle of bourbon mothers taped to the outside and Barnes and Noble.

[00:19:46] Yeah, well, listen, I've got it on a percentage if you make that up.

[00:19:51] Yeah, I mean, we there's so many ways, didn't you didn't you say that, you know, when it gets buried with 10000 other spices, it doesn't sell as well as when you put it in the meat department?

[00:20:03] Yeah. And that's that's been our our thing, you know, like a lot of our quote unquote armchair advisors, you know. Well, how are you going to compete with McCormicks or, you know, Emeril Lagasse? And I'm. I don't want it, you know, and it's not that we're afraid, but we are better off hitting specialty meat stores, gourmet food places, you know, go into a meat shop and go, look, you put us next to McCormicks and you're going to charge what McCormicks charges. You're not going to make any money. You put us near the meat and we tell them we try and trade our stories, put us near the meat, get your head butcher to take a bottle of each flavor home and use it. If you do that, you'll sell out, you'll sell out at full price, you'll never have to put it on sale. And that has been the case, Tom a hundred percent.

[00:20:56] That's just beautiful marketing. Don't go. And just I mean, I believe in. Ok, you're making a rub and lots of people make rubs, but you didn't just throw it in with all the other rubs. You took it away and made it special. I've run into that situation lots of times. They'll have this stupid thing set up for like a you can, you know, before the pandemic came anyway. But you could take some of this spread and spread it on a little sample of bread and eat it. And I'm thinking, all right, where's the stuff? I want to buy it. And they're saying, oh, it's 12 miles down. You know, go down and look at, you know, just put it right where I want it. And that's what you did. That's brilliant.

[00:21:39] Yeah. You know, it's worked really well. We we. You know, like many companies, we have what they call tiered pricing, so the more you buy, the less cost. I mean, that's just business. And we we've had situations where a store come in and they'll say, well, give me this much, because it knocks them down a tear. So they shave a couple of bucks and follow. And, you know, I look at the store and I go, there's there's no way this guy is not going to sell this much stuff in a reasonable amount of time. And I'll always I'll do the best I can to talk him into cutting it back. I said, I look, I know you're going to spend a little bit more per bottle. But I would feel a lot better if you did that and sold out. That if you bought all this, then at the end of the year, half of that is left because you just over bond. Ok, we buy a smaller quantity. And it doesn't sell out in the time you want. That's fine. In fact, with our stores now or their first order, because it's an unknown for all of us, right. I can't I can't tell the world everybody's going to like my room. You know, not everybody likes beer. Not everybody likes bourbon. You know, so there's maybe two or three people in Cleveland that don't like bubble mothers. But other than them, we don't know. And I don't I don't want to sort of get buried. So we put them on a 60 day program and we tell them, look, and we will strongly recommend how much they should order. Right. Based on what we see in the store. You know, if it's a smaller shop where one guy is doing all the butchering, they don't need five cases. Ok. You know, we'll back up there and then we'll say, look, at the end of 60 days, we're coming back in. And if it has not sold the way you thought it would sell, we'll buy everything back. That's left. Your your decision

[00:23:39] Now, you have this this two crazy deals that I think are just fantastic, crazy, but fantastic. So tell me about your program to hire a veteran for a year.

[00:23:51] Yeah, any any month that we are able to increase sales by effect fact, a number of 10000 bottles, not CASIS 10000 cases. I'd hire everybody 10000 bottles. It allows us the opportunity to bring in an additional veteran and a full time salary, you know. And when I say that I'm not looking for guys to come in and pack boxes, I can do that. Ok. I'm talking about, you know, as we as we grow, we're going to need people that are familiar with logistics. And, you know, in the reason for Tom and the reason for the program is, you know, this area of Maine is dying. And what I mean by that is, you know, I'm one of the younger guys in town. And, you know, because a lot of these guys are getting out of the service with great skills. They have young families. And unless they want to be luxuries, they move away out of state to get an opportunity to support their family. And I thought, you know what, if I can grow this to where I give them that kind of a good paying job, where they can support their family and live this lifestyle. You know, I literally walk to the ocean. Every day watch the lobster boats committed out and do their thing. And, you know, the scenery is beautiful. If if if I can at least give a young venture the option to want to stay here, I think I would be doing this area a great service.

[00:25:27] Beautiful, beautiful program now. Tell us about the crazy thing about you're going to give away 30 percent of your company.

[00:25:36] How does that work? So far, so good. But let me. The genesis behind that is actually taking what I just explained to the next level. So. You know where we are now and with the equipment we have, we there's a capacity there's there's a point where I can't make anymore. All right. And I'm like, OK, now how do I get to that next level after that? And you know, I'm like, well, if I hire. They're chasing employees, right? And I use a venturers example, I bring in a veteran, the guy appreciates the job, he wants to do a good job, keeps his nose to the grindstone, or she keeps your nose to the grindstone and they do a great job and then they go home. And that's what they get paid to do. I don't grow. I support them, but I don't really grow. If I took that same mattress and listen. Here's where I think you can help me these. These are talents you have, it's not in your job description. But if I can achieve this goal and you help me. I'll give you a piece of the company. Oh, OK. So we reached out and I don't know if you are familiar with it, but there was a show actually last year was the first year it was on called Undercover Billionaire. Yeah. Mm hmm. Ok, and Glenn Stearns, you know, again, a simple guy came from nothing, created a huge company and is a billionaire.

[00:27:13] And he was challenged like, if we took away all your money, all your connections. Could you still build a successful company so. For those of your listeners that aren't familiar, they dropped him in Erie, Pennsylvania, with a fake name, an old pickup truck. One hundred dollars and a burner phone, no concoction. And he had 90 days to create a company with a billion dollar valuation. He couldn't use any of his connections. He could reveal who he was to any of the people and so on and so forth. Long story short, you know, with all the trials and tribulations, they they almost made it. And he put in a million dollars of his own money to keep it going. But at the end of 90 days, it was worth like three quarters of a million dollars. Right. And what attracted me to it, they opened up a. Craft beer, bar and barbecue joint. So, you know, it was like, OK, serendipity, I'm going to pay attention. So I took some of the elements of that and said, OK, look, hey, I'm not a billionaire. B, we already exist and have value. See, I'm going to tell you guys what we're going to do. We already know the business plan. We just got to speed it up. And I said, and here's the challenge. So we've got three ventures that have taken on the challenge and are working with me.

[00:28:41] And we all have equal Ta'if. So it's not I don't get to sit in a chair and go, you do this, you do that. And I said the goal is on Veterans Day this year, we will reach a billion dollar valuation tag. And if we do that, each of them will receive a percentage of the company and they can, you know, and they would be, you know, obviously permanently vested in the company. No. No expiration date. We're going to take it back in a couple of years. It's theirs. They could. They could. You know, it has value to them. And obviously, if they chose, they could sell it, you know, whatever they want to do. But the key is that million dollar valuation. Allows us to leverage. With the banks to say, OK, now give us. You know, the funding for the equipment we need in a facility that we're going to need to put that equipment in one shot. Now we can grow in those 10000 unit increments with no restrictions. You know, we're not you know, we really it would be decades if we ever reached capacity after that. You know, I'm probably the size of McCormicks, which I don't envision happening. But I think certainly in the next three or four years, we're a five to 10 million dollar company, of which these guys now, if they continued with us, own a percentage of,

[00:30:14] Wow, what what a great idea, what a great concept to help veterans and beautiful. So so a lot of people a lot of people get horaea or buy this stuff.

[00:30:27] Well, the easiest way is always is the Web. They go to bubnmuthas.com.

[00:30:38] All right. And what's really good is, you know, before they decide on a flavor, if they want, they can head over right on the website and click on what's cooking and they can look at some recipes and get some ideas. You know, we have a fan page on Facebook. It'll have a link to that where they can see not only our recipes, but our other fans and customers post their what they do, you know, some of the things that they've created. And, you know, if if they want, you know, we have we have a saying that we will send them our newsletter and in a newsletter, it'll them you know, if you have a store locally, if you can get us their contact information will reach out to him, send him some samples. And if they want to carry it in the store, we'll send you a four pack as our way of saying thanks. Wow. So, you know, we're looking we want to grow.

[00:31:46] And there's a list of stores on there now if they happen to be in in certain areas that they could that way.

[00:31:52] Yeah. Most summer in Maine. There's a few in New Hampshire. I think, too, in New Jersey, you know, we're not in as many states as we want, but now bring in these three guys on that, you know, and they literally they only started like a week ago. So they're going to get out there and hit their areas and hopefully we'll be adding some stores very quickly.

[00:32:19] Wow. Cool, cool, cool. Great education for me on rubs. And I love high quality stuff. You know, it doesn't have to be, you know, crap. That is just me. You know, all the money spent on marketing and the product sucks. So this is the opposite of that high quality stuff. And it's helping veterans. So, John, great catching up with you, man.

[00:32:39] Hey, absolutely. I can't believe it's been that as long as it's been.

[00:32:44] What year was that? We were there.

[00:32:46] I want to say it was. Like 2000, 2001,

[00:32:52] It had to be that or before, because it hasn't been since I've been here in Virginia Beach, which was two thousand and two. So but anyway, the camels probably don't want to see me coming back anymore.

[00:33:05] It's well, maybe toothless.

[00:33:08] All right, man. So thanks so much for coming on. Everybody check out bubnmuthas.com. We'll have that in the show notes and go there and rub everything you can think of. That's what I'm going to do. All right, folks, we'll catch you on the next episode. See you later.