It might sound a bit incongruous for two Medford men to run a company known as The Two Sisters.
Nonetheless, when the opportunity to resurrect a proven product popped up, Brent Moore and Bob Tewksbury couldn't let it pass.
Two Sisters Thai Tamarind Seed Dipping Sauce debuted in 2002 and was available in Northern California stores for more than decade before going dormant. Sisters-in-law Joan and Martha Hicks, of Etna, California, created the sweet and tangy sauce and built a loyal regional following before the commercial kitchen they used shuttered in 2013.
While production came to end, Moore said, demand didn't.
Moore and Tewksbury, who met playing in a band together, were looking for a new business gig when a Craigslist ad caught their attention. The business partners acquired The Two Sisters rights and recipes in March of 2016 and returned to market last June.
"We called all of the stores that had carried it, and every single one of them said they would buy it again," Moore said. "Right there, I knew we had automatic cash flow."
Moore, a former operations director at ScienceWorks, has two decades of restaurant experience, while Tewksbury is a contractor by trade dealing primarily in window restoration. At first they produced the sauce at Fry Family Farm before shifting co-packing operations to Beaverton Foods, located in Hillsboro.
Moore said the cash generated from current sales is paying for marketing operations based in Medford.
"We sold more in six months than they did in their best year," he said.
Moore and Tewksbury still have day jobs so they can avoid debt during the start-up period.
"We think we can probably do $40,000 to $50,000 this year if we get into Ray's, which I'm confident we will," he said. "Every time we do demos, we sell two to six cases. At five demos a week, that's $80,000 a year."
The sauce is available locally at Food 4 Less. They hope to soon extend relationships with C&K Markets (Ray's) and Raley's, both of which would help them greatly expand their territory.
In addition to pursuing retailers and online connections, Moore and Tewksbury are hitting the road for food shows, trade shows and fairs.
They sold nearly $1,000 worth of sauce at the "First Taste of Oregon" show the last week of January.
The originators made something people liked, but the Medford duo has bolder aspirations.
"This stuff is really, really good," Moore said. "The issue is educating people about what this is."
The sauce can be used for basting, marinading, baking and barbecuing.
"People were buying it, but using it in a limited way," he said. "We're encouraging them to use it for different things."
They recently introduced a new balsamic dressing to widen their appeal.
— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness.