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Hoosier Daddy BBQ Sauce may soon hit Walmart shelves across the Midwest
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Hoosier Daddy BBQ Sauce may soon hit Walmart shelves across the Midwest

Dyer-based Hoosier Daddy BBQ Sauce started as a local woman's tribute to her late, barbecue-loving father, gained a following across Northwest Indiana and may soon be hitting Walmart shelves across the Midwest.

Walmart is in talks with Hoosier Daddy BBQ about stocking its award-winning barbecue sauces at its big-box stores across the Midwest after selecting it to advance through the next round at its National Open Call event. 

Hoosier Daddy BBQ is now working to ramp up production to distribute its product across the 12 Midwestern states next year.

Kim Foy started the business in 2011 after losing her father and brother to cancer. She intended it to be a tribute to her dad, William Marshall, and the barbecue sauce he served them as kids, using his handwritten recipe. She initially found success at local butcher shops like Rob's Meat Chop & Deli, Welch's Stop & Shop and Howard & Son's Quality Meats.

"I wanted to do something to honor him so I started making the sauce and passing it out to friends. Soon I was bottling it and taking it to markets," she said. "My dad was just a blue-collar worker who loved barbecue."

The business venture went on hiatus in 2014 when both her mother and husband were diagnosed with terminal cancer. She took time off to care for them, ultimately losing her mother in 2015 and her husband in 2016.

She resumed the business in 2018, and her sauce is now carried at stores across Chicagoland, including at Strack & Van Til and Meijer supermarkets in Northwest Indiana.

Barbecue News called Hoosier Daddy BBQ "a sleeping giant" after it won multiple awards at the annual National Barbecue Association conference in Kansas City, including first place awards selected from hundreds of competitors. Its Ghost Roast also was honored at Cincinnati-area foodie paradise Jungle Jim's Weekend of Fire. 

"I relaunched it in 2018 not knowing what to expect," she said. "We were embraced with open arms or taste buds. My followers stayed with me."

For Foy, it's a passion project.

"It comes from the heart," she said. "It's from a personal place in honor of somebody. I later took it a step further and did this in honor of my dad, brother, mother and husband who I all lost to cancer. I put my heart into it. It's a real passion." 

Green Door Books is writing its next chapter. The used bookstore, known for its art shows, $1 books, extensive zine library and namesake green door, is moving to a bigger spot in downtown Hobart after the local chain Toys in the Attic bowed out.

Hoosier Daddy makes natural, non-GMO Sweet & Sassy, Ghost Roast and Smokehouse Hickory with Lime sauces, which are sold in 16-ounce bottles. Foy said the sauces enliven all types of barbecued meats, including brisket and pulled pork.

"The three flavors complement each other," Foy said. "They have no gluten and no high-fructose corn syrup. That makes our consistency a little thinner so it can be used on salads and noodles. It can be used in soups and chili, it's not just a barbecue sauce."

Walmart selected Hoosier Daddy BBQ Sauce after Foy sent in a video for the annual open call for American-made products and then had a virtual interview.

"It’ll take us to a whole other level of growth," she said. "It will bring the brand to the public. I'm really excited to grab a national account."

If the initial Walmart trial provides successful, Hoosier Daddy BBQ could be rolled out nationwide.

"I never thought I'd take my dad's sauce to this point," she said. "It's surreal. I can't believe it. My dad would be very proud."

Hoosier Daddy BBQ is already distributed in Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin. It's served at concession stands by many sports teams, including the White Sox, Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns and Notre Dame 

It's manufactured on a contract basis and Foy has been increasing the size of the orders.

"It will be big for us geographically," she said. "Once you have a national account, it opens doors. It's rewarding when you have put the effort in. With a lot of hard work, you can do anything."

If all goes well, Hoosier Daddy BBQ will be rolled out to Midwestern Walmart stores by April of next year.

"Long-term I just want to build the brand up," Foy said. "I just want to make people's taste buds happy."

For more information, visit www.hoosierdaddybbq.com.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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