The Story of BBQ Pic
The Quest of Two disabled Entrepreneurs to Save Lives
On December 26th, 2022, digital Entrepreneur/Filmmaker/Digital Marketer, Jonathan R. Holeton of St. Paul, AB received a phone call that would change his life for the better.
On the phone was inventor Victor Noel of Edmonton, AB, formerly of St. Paul, AB, who asked Jonathan about his wife Arla's cleaning business Clean Space. He had found it on Google and asked Jonathan if he and his wife would like to include BBQ cleaning as part of the service, and he mentioned what they could use... the safe alternative to BBQ brushes...
The BBQ Pic, which Vic had invented and designed.
Right away, Jonathan was fascinated by Victor, who he found very interesting and very funny. Jonathan, aka Johny, fell in love with the BBQ Pic, he fell so in love with it, his wife Arla got jealous (As Victor would jokingly say). 😄
Victor ended up asking Jonathan for help with the BBQ Pic, with the digital side of the business. Vic had bought the domain name www.bbqpic.com and hadn't gotten a website made for it yet after a year or so acquiring the domain. Jonathan told Vic he could help him design the site on Shopify, and Vic was happy to finally get his website up and running... but they ran into a road block. Jonathan was on the phone with Vic to create the BBQ Pic Shopify store, but something happened where Jonathan wasn't able to log into the store because Vic had misspelled the login email, he misheard what Jonathan said would be the login email, so they had to contact support on Shopify. So lo and behold, after about 2 weeks trying to reset the email and verify that Victor is the owner of the site, Vic and Jonathan finally got access to the Shopify store. It was a real adventure, but nothing was going to stop Vic and Johny.
So Johny designed the site, and it's currently how you see it now.
Vic and Johny speak on the phone almost every day, with Vic giving Johny advice on what steps to take to sell BBQ Pics. Johny has also been googling to get some answers. He soon realized that most of the retail store websites have "Submit Product", or "Suppliers", or "Vendors" links at the footers, the very bottom of their websites. He submitted to Canadian Tire, Walmart, Rona, and still submitting to more stores. Furthermore, he also discovered that some stores use a site called RangeMe.
Victor mentioned to Johny that the past 2 years or so, he's sold 10,000 BBQ Pics to meat shops in the States and Canada and everyone who bought them have said they love their BBQ Pic.
Vic told Johny about when he invented the golf accessory, the Golf Pro Caddy which held 3 balls, tees, a scorecard, and pencil, and it attached to the golfers bag. Here's an image of the prototype.
The Golf Pro Caddy golf accessory was very successful, it was sold across Canada and USA in stores like Canadian Tire, in fact, Jonathan fondly remembers getting one from his Mom, Lise Holeton, and he bought one for his Dad, Dick Holeton for Father's Day. Unfortunately, Victor was only in the process of getting a patent for his invention, back around 1987 and while the paperwork was processing, 100s of companies knocked it off from him. Vic learned from that and got Canadian and USA patents for the BBQ Pic.
How it got into Canadian TIre and other stores across North America, 32 years ago in 1991 or so, Victor talked with the Canadian Tire assistant manager on Calgary Trail in Edmonton, Ken Baugé, to test out sales of the Pro Caddy in his store before Father's Day, and they sold over 300 units on a weekend with no advertising. The only advertising Vic had for it was the Edmonton Sun and Edmonton Journal wrote a few articles about him and his Pro Caddy invention and how Victor employed a group of people with disabilities to construct the Pro Caddies, and that's what helped the product fly off the shelves. Right after that, Victor got a call from retail buyers from the head office of Canadian Tire to take it right across Canada.
Victor and Jonathan are on a mission to get the BBQ Pic in every home in Canada and then the USA and other countries later, who have BBQs, to stop the usage of dangerous BBQ brushes, which not only can cause loved ones to go for emergency surgery, or possibly die, but they also are filling up landfills. (You have to throw out the BBQ brush after a few uses - with the BBQ Pic it's so durable it will last you a lifetime). Not only that, but with each sale of a BBQ Pic, a percentage of the sale goes to the MS Society to help find a cure for MS. Jonathan wants to sell as many BBQ pics as possible, so his new friend Victor can be cured of MS and the millions of people who have it as well. Just imagine... because of YOUR investment in the BBQ Pic, it not only keeps your family and friends safe during BBQs, your purchase might also save the lives of millions of people suffering from MS.
Jonathan went to the meat shop in his town of St. Paul, AB, Majek Meats to check out the BBQ Pic he was selling there and bought a couple. He saw they were hanging from a really nice wood display with a graphic that Victor had gotten made for the meat shops. This is what it looks like:
Since Victor is in a wheelchair, he asked Jonathan to go to the stores in St. Paul that sell BBQs, Canadian Tire, Co-Op, and Home Hardware. He first went to Canadian Tire, talked with one of the managers, but she said to Jonathan that he'd have to contact head office, so he went on the website and applied. They are waiting to hear back from Canadian Tire.
Jonathan then went to the Co-Op to get the wood, a couple dowels, wood screws, and a blow torch. The team at Co-Op, Dawn, Roy, and another nice Lady helped him by getting him the right sized wood and gave him tips on how to build the wood displays and make them look nice by burning the wood and got him sand paper to lightly sand the wood.
Dawn had asked Jonathan what it was for, he had a BBQ Pic on him, so he told her about the BBQ Pic, that Vic and him were working on getting the BBQ Pic in stores, so she talked with the manager Roy about it and Roy gave Johny his business card and mentioned they'll order a small order of BBQ Pics in the middle of April 2023 to see how well they sell in their store. So Jonathan was happy, and called Vic to give him the good news.
Then Jonathan drilled holes in the wood and screwed the 2 pieces together and then drill 3 holes on top to put the dowels. His wife Arla helped him with it. He then used the blow torch he got from the Co-Op with Victor's help and lightly burned the wood of the 11 displays him and his wife put together. He then designed a graphic to put on the top of the display and a sticker to put on the base. Furthermore, he printed out the graphic on the top as photos at ShutterBee in St. Paul, AB and then got them laminated at the St. Paul Municipal Library and got stickers made at StarBrite Embroidery by Marilyn Shapka.
After that, Jonathan went to Home Hardware in St. Paul to talk with the manager Duane and his assistant manager Valerie. They decided to also test out how well the BBQ Pic sells at their store, so Jonathan left them with a wood display with a few BBQ Pics.
This is what the BBQ Pic wooden stand looks like with the new logo and graphics that Jonathan designed:
Jonathan also designed three posters for the marketing of the BBQ Pic to place in stores. Here's what they look like:
We welcome you to join this journey with us. Buy a BBQ Pic for you and your family and buy them as gifts for those you care about. If we work hard on our dreams, they will come true and success isn't how much money you make, it's how many people you've helped and changed their lives for the better,