Steve Lulofs spends more than 40 hours a week in a Huntley warehouse, packing up bottles of his barbecue sauce and sending them all over the world.
"So far we’re in about seven different countries, almost every single state so far," Lulofs said.
Lulofs spent eight years in the Army, including tours of duty in Iraq. When he got home, he bought a smoker and started making his own barbecue sauce.
"Just went online and got about 10 different recipes and kind of found out what the most common ingredients are," Lulofs said
Lulofs and his brother, also a veteran, began entering and winning suburban barbecue competitions and soon, people were craving his sauce by the gallons.
"People just kept saying we really like it. We really like it. And it blew up overnight," Lulofs said.
When the man outstripped his kitchen, Lulofs turned to a commercial production company, which is now cranking out up to 50,000 bottles a year - the original, the spicy and a Southern mustard sauce, plus two powdered rubs for meat.
The best part about the story though, is that Lulofs gives half of the profits, about $50,000, to veterans groups in the Chicago area and nationwide.
"I like helping veterans. I like staying with the whole veteran community. I like the whole brotherhood thing, being part of the team. It’s a way for me to stay in the game," Lulofs said.
He’s doing all this while holding down a full-time job for the federal department of labor, but has big expansion plans. Lulofs wants to put Veterans Q on every store shelf and pantry in the country.
"I would love for it to go big. The bigger it goes, the more money I am going to be able to raise, and then I’m gonna be able to help out more people who deserve it," he said.
You can find Veterans Q in about 300 groceries now, including all of the Jewel stores in the Chicago area. You can also order from his....