Lamar Jones – food creator, musician, business owner, family man – keeps his eyes to the sky and his feet firmly planted on the ground. He also keeps his ears open to his customers and his mind open to any opportunity that may come around the next corner.
First winning the McAllen Chamber’s Innovation Grant in 2014, Jones’ barbeque sauces have since won HEB approval, putting him in 247 HEBs across Texas and counting.
“The Innovation Grant is still one of those things that, at the time, was one of the most significant things I had ever won,” Jones’ face glows with pride. “It was a validation that I may actually have something which could do well in the market once it got there. It helped me get all my packaging and retail ready. That was the big leap I needed to take it to the next level.”
But Jones didn’t stop with his flavorful Jank Original and Spicy gourmet barbeque sauces. His customers asked for something more and Jones delivered with his new Habenero sauce, and all-purpose seasoning blend Dry Rub, perfectly designed for BBQ enthusiasts who may not care much for sauces.
Branding with Jank, Jones has developed his own dictionary of words including janktafied, join the Jank nation, photo jankery, janktamonials. Using every chance to learn more about the business, Jones has watched his products spread across Texas, through HEB’s Primo Picks program – winning the HEB Supplier Diversity Supplier of the Year 2017 – and now is aiming for any other Texas market he can reach.
Continuing to develop products is in his headlights.
“I know where I want to go. This is just the beginning. I still believe in giving scholarships and being involved in the community. I know as long as I stay on this path, take heed and continue to learn, I can see the longevity of this business.”
Also, and forever a musician, Jones’ fifth album will be released on March 31st at Cine El Rey, in McAllen, an event that has him flying on a perpetual cloud of joy.
“You asked me at the end of our interview last time how much of a role God had in the success of the business. I always knew that it has always been Him. I never lose focus of His part. It definitely keeps me grounded and humbled.”
Watch out for the Jank.
The name, and the personality behind the name, is a true force sweeping across the state of Texas, beginning, of course, in his home – the Rio Grande Valley.