Local Teens’ Campfire Product Hits Shelves Nationwide
May 05, 2016 02:53PM
● By Tori La Rue
By Tori La Rue | [email protected]
South Jordan - Two teen brothers from South Jordan created a campfire roasting stick that’s landing in stores across the United States.
Since Tanner and Spencer Harrison’s last appearance in the South Jordan Journal in June 2015, Sportsman’s Warehouse, a sporting goods store located in 19 states, and Wegmans, a supermarket chain with 88 stores in the eastern United States, agreed to start selling their product — the Wolf ‘em Stick. Sportsman’s Warehouse is already distributing the stick, and Wegmans is set to inventory them in the summer.
“This is the biggest break we’ve had so far,” Tanner, 18, said. “These stores are really well known, and we’re just excited to see what comes of it.”
Since the start of their business three years ago, the Harrison brothers have made more than $150,000 in gross revenue from their product, and they said they only expect that to increase as their product is launched in these new stores.
“Looking back, I would have never thought this idea could carry so far,” Tanner said. “But now it’s been going on for a while, and it’s hard to remember what it was like before we had our own business.”
The brothers came up with the idea of their specialty stick after visiting their cousins in Ohio. Their cousins put biscuit dough on the end of broomsticks, stuck it in the fire, pulled the cup-shaped biscuit off the stick and filled it with their favorite trimmings, from fruit to pudding to chili.
“I started to think, ‘We could probably market that if we used something other than a broomstick,’” Spencer, 16, said.
After taking the Young Entrepreneurs Association courses sponsored by the South Jordan Chamber of Commerce, the brothers got to work creating custom-made campfire biscuit-roasting sticks, which they glued together in the shed in their backyard. At the time Spencer was 12 and Tanner was 14.
“I’m honestly a little embarrassed about how our first products turned out,” Spencer said while laughing. “We went around the neighborhood and sold them to people, who probably bought them out of pity and because we were good kids, but we had to start somewhere.”
The Harrisons have updated their product three times, but Tanner said their neighbors still carry around the first-generation sticks saying they are grateful to have one from the company’s humble beginnings.
Until this year, Spencer and Tanner built the sticks themselves out in the shed in their backyard. The shed became more of a Wolf ‘em factory than a place for storage, Tanner said. At the climax of their shed production, the brothers and other staff they trained, could produce 1,000 sticks in a week.
Spencer and Tanner said they still have the supplies to create the sticks at home, but they now hire a manufacturing company to take care of that work.
“I’m sure they have all sorts of techniques that make them more efficient than us, including the fact that they’re probably not relying on teenage labor,” Tanner said. “We got things done, but we also liked to just play around every once in a while and have fun.”
The brothers continue to pay themselves hourly wages for their work and invest the rest into their business. They said there were times when money was tight. They wanted to improve their product, but they didn’t have the money to invest in making it better.
“That’s the most frustrating part about being an entrepreneur, but you can get past that if you work hard and smart,” Spencer said.
Tanner reminded Spencer of a time when Spencer was frustrated with their business. One year at the Swiss Festival in Midway the brothers’ booth was more popular than they anticipated.
“I couldn’t even shove the Wolf ‘em Sticks in their bags for people to buy them fast enough,” Spencer said.
Tanner arrived at the booth after his brother had experienced a long day of people lining up to buy their product. Spencer said he was so stressed out and said it had been one of the worst days ever.
“I had to remind him that that selling tons of products should be every entrepreneur’s dream,” Tanner said.
The Harrisons said their business has given them little moments like that that they laugh about and cherish.
“It’s the best thing in the world doing this with my brother,” Tanner said. “I couldn’t think of anyone else that I’d rather start a business with.”
Wolf ‘em Sticks can be purchased locally in the new South Jordan Sportsman’s Warehouse, Not Just Copies at 10322 South Redwood Road and at any IFA Country Store for about $13. To purchase a Wolf ‘em online or see a full list of retailers, visit wolfem.com.