Kris Schoenberger (IL)
After being laid off from his job in 2009, Kris Schoenberger decided it was time to pursue his long-held dream of starting his own food business. He had recently hosted a cookout at his home for a hundred people and the feedback was stunning! An impressed guest asked whether Kris would cater his wedding reception; and Kris’s vision for his business, BBQ’d Productions, began to take shape. The wedding reception was a huge success, with several guests inquiring about Kris’ availability for future jobs, and he began to realize the opportunity that was before him. Within two years, Kris grew his small enterprise into a full-fledged business; a BBQ catering company that grills all of the food on-site. When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in 2012, Kris, always big believer in giving back, packed up his trailers with food and drink and drove east. Besides serving more than 5,000 hot meals to victims and volunteers, he delivered 10,000 pounds of food that had been donated by other Chicagoland businesses and organizations. When it came time to expand, Kris turned to the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Program loan fund at Accion. His loan gave him the resources to buy additional equipment so he could take on more catering jobs. Today, Kris has four trucks and has evolved BBQ’d Productions into a full-service party business, including event planning and logistics and in the past year, he has more than doubled his revenue. As a Brewing the American Dream program participant, Kris has been able to access one-on-one coaching from Samuel Adams employee-experts and has been featured on packaging and promotional materials. He jokingly describes his relationship with Samuel Adams like “having your high school football team coached by the Chicago Bears!” Learn more about BBQ’d Productions at http://www.wegrillitall.com/.