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VBOC helps U.S. Army Veteran Capitalize on his Love for Cooking

Retiring and transitioning from the military is rarely a simple feat.  Following 31 years of service in the U.S. Army, Bob Fletcher’s experience was no different.  However, through the Army’s Warrior Transition Battalion Fletcher took advantage of an entrepreneurship training opportunity.  Following the course, he decided to couple this new knowledge with his love for cooking by starting Bob’s Smokin’ Southern BBQ in 2015. 

“Starting a small business is very challenging and takes a lot of work,” said Fletcher. “Being in the BBQ field in the heart of the BBQ belt is particularly challenging.  Ninety percent of those who enter this industry are unable to sustain their business for more than a year.  The challenge is what drives me to build and grow.”  

Starting with a single BBQ sauce recipe, Fletcher realized he had only started to learn the basics from his Army entrepreneurship classes and quickly sought out addition resources.  It did not take long before he found himself linked up with the Veteran’s Business Outreach Center (VBOC) in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  Through the VBOC, Fletcher attended a variety of business classes and used the occasion to network with other veteran small business owners.  

 “The VBOC classes provided me with a strong base to structure a successful business and avoid the typical pitfalls which many small businesses encounter,” said Fletcher. 

Fletcher went on to credit the VBOC with providing him experiences that greatly aided him in the development and execution of his business plan.  

Today, Bob's Smokin’ Southern BBQ is a wholesale/retail business specializing in BBQ sauces and seasonings.  His business now operates internationally with sauces in over 200 stores, including stores in Australia, Germany, and Japan.  Looking towards the future Bob has plans to increase his marketing and outreach by leveraging e-commerce.