“Phil Ford, a real estate appraiser and father of four in Raleigh, North Carolina, developed his sauce around 1987, while trying to copy his mother’s recipe for a western North Carolina-style barbecue sauce. The resulting fat-free, fragrant blend includes: tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, honey, molasses, mustard, horseradish, lemon juice, onions, garlic, peppers, natural hickory smoke, natural spices and salt.”
“Folks kept telling him that he needed to do something with the sauce – like bottle it and sell it! People loved it when he gave it away, but Phil never thought anyone would pay for his sauce. His sister-in-law, Sandi Ford, owner of Ford’s Fancy Fruits & Gourmet Foods in Raleigh, had years of experience in the gourmet food business and had other thoughts; she encouraged him to no avail. Then finally in September 1992, Sandi and her husband, Lynn, told Phil they’d like to be his partners in bringing his sauce to market. He’d make it and they’d give it a name and sell it. While driving to Charleston, South Carolina a short time later, Sandi was preoccupied with the task of coming up with a name. She thought about how go-o-o-d it was and how it made her do something she’d never done before — suck on the bones to get the last little bit of flavor. A name was born and the sauce was launched in November, 1992.” article by L. Harrell
The origins of the business were rooted in the first produce house at the old city market of Raleigh in 1946. The present owners, Lynn and Sandi Ford, came into the family business in 1973 and expanded the business in 1986 by creating “Ford’s Fancy Fruits & Gourmet Foods,” which sold fruit baskets with NC peanuts, later expanding to open two retail stores carrying more than 300 NC gourmet food items from around the state. In 1992 they joined forces with a brother-in-law, Phillip Ford, who improved his mother’s recipe for barbecue sauce, and created a tomato based sauce sweetened with honey and molasses.
The whole family got involved. Phillip and his family traveled around North Carolina doing in-store samplings. Vaughn, Lynn and Sandi’s oldest son, took cases of sauce to sell to stores in the mountains of NC. Patrick, their youngest son, sold to their first out-of-state customer, Virginia Smalls, Inc., a distributor on the SC Charleston Market. That meant that tourists bought and took their delicious sauce all over the USA.
The rise in fame of their core product, “Bone-Suckin’ Sauce,” began when Bone Suckin’ Sauce won “the NC Battle of the Sauces” in the March 1994. With increasing rave reviews, the sauce won best in sales records every year in the Winner’s Circle, the elite category of past 1st Place Winners.
The firm began considering exporting in the Summer of 1994. The owners had been going to the NASFT International Fancy Food Show in New York City for years as buyers for their retail gourmet food stores. At that show, foreign customers approached their small 10’ x 10’ booth, including the senior gourmet buyer from Harvey Nichols in London, a version of “Harrods” meant for locals. The ad campaign materials were so good that they attracted media coverage. A writer/photographer from The New York Times was impressed enough to mention “Bone Suckin’ Sauce” on the first page of the food section the second day of the show. Soon Canada’s “Bruno’s,” based out of Toronto, wanted to carry the product in four of its stores.
Today the firm exports to over 80 countries. About 10-15% of its business comes from these exports, and both their domestic and export sales are growing.
Being OU Kosher Certified enables us to share our Bone Suckin’ Sauces with more people, not only in America, but around the world. It lets our customers know that we really care about quality. We are dedicated to providing quality taste and quality ingredients to our customers, and our OU Kosher certification helps make that possible for us and for our customers. When people see the OU Kosher symbol on our products, they can feel good about putting them in their grocery cart and taking them home to share with their families, or using our products in their restaurants & deli.