What started out as a humble sloppy joe recipe created by Don Hill Jr.’s grandmother in the 1960’s quickly became a regional success now found in mega-retail stores such as Walmart and Kroger.

Hill’s idea for Brickyard Sloppy Joe Sauce started when he was serving in Marine combat in Afghanistan for the U.S. Navy. He was eating military-issued sloppy joes and longing for the taste of home.

When he returned from active duty, Hill and his mother wondered if they could take their sauce and make it commercially available.

In 2012, Hill took the spirit of his beloved grandmother’s recipe to the CIFT-managed Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK) and began commercially processing under the company name, Traditions Sauces.

The NOCK provides an affordable venue in which to develop a concept into a commercially viable food product. The commercial kitchen facility combines business and technical assistance with production equipment to bridge the gap between an idea and reality.

The ability to network with other entrepreneurs, access information and take advantage of production capacity - all in one spot - minimizes the risk for a new food business venture.

Utilizing the NOCK for handling product, storage, and an use-as-needed agreement has saved their company more than

$585,000 over the years. “Our ability to manufacture at [NOCK] is priceless,” said Hill Jr. “Specifically for any startup business, the training, the guidelines, the people who work with you to walk you through the steps and any changes in the industry, it keeps us relevant in the market.”

As a result of using NOCK’s small business services, Traditions Sauces purchased a food truck to incorporate their well-known sauces into food menu items. This addition alone will add four part-time jobs and an increase in annual revenue of $25,000. The company is also launching a creamy white sauce for potato salads, coleslaws, and other dishes.

Because of their continual support toward Ohio, including the support of local ingredients for their sauces, Traditions Sauces received the CIFT Excellence Award in 2017 in recognition of their exceptional achievement in the development of the company and their contribution to the food industry in the state.