Chevalo and Monique Wilsondebriano have landed a deal with Lowe’s and Walmart to have their famous Charleston Gourmet Burger sauce carried by the retailers.
Early on, the Wilsondebriano’s burger sauce was sold at local farmer’s markets. In 2013, the couple decided to pitch the recipe to major retailers after previously being sold in stores like Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, Cost Plus, Costco, military commissaries and Sam’s Club.
The Black-owned business, Gourmet Burger Marinade and Sauce, will now be sold in 543 Lowe’s stores around the country, and 44 select Walmart stores in the southeast and online, according to Black News.
“We pinch ourselves everyday,” Monique Wilsondebriano said to the website. “I’ve been told that I would never amount to anything. No matter how bad of a situation I was in, I always knew that one day I would make a difference.”
The company came from humble beginnings. In a YouTube video on the Wilsondebriano’s page, the pair said they moved from New York after 9/11, when Chevalo Wilsondebriano was a paramedic for the city. His wife didn’t learn he was alive until 6:30 that night, and soon after the pair decided it was time to move out of New York City.
They settled their family in Charleston, South Carolina, where they hosted a backyard barbecue featuring herbs and spices from the city. The burgers were a hit, and Monique Wilsondebriano decided they should sell the recipe.
The couple explained how they connected with Lowe’s in a YouTube video on the Lowe’s in the Community page. The Wilsondebrianos approached Lowe’s during a special buying event last year. The supplier diversity team at the home improvement store helped the couple understand how to do business with Lowe’s.
South Carolina’s Post and Courier reports that since the company’s launch four years ago, business has doubled annually. So far this year, they have produced and sold 20,000 bottles of marinade and nearly 4,300 bottles of sauce. The suggested retail price is $4.99, and bottles are reordered at a rate of 97 percent.
“We are coming up on gross sales of $1 million this year,” Chevalo Wilsondebriano – who retired from the New York Fire Department after 25 years – said to The Post and Courier. “The marinade is our bread and butter.”
After the deal with Walmart and Lowe’s, Monique Wilsondebriano – who left her job at Target to raise the couple’s four children – told the newspaper, “It’s a nice feeling to be able to say we are going to give ourselves a salary this year.”
The couple is now looking to expand their product line with more sauces and rubs. A freeze-packaged burger with the marinade already mixed in is also in the works, which was Chevalo Wilsondebriano’s original idea before his wife suggested bottling the marinade and sauce in 2010.