MB Family Foods is Expanding Operations, Saving Costs with FSBDC

October 30, 2014 | Mandy Fernandez | mfernandez@uwf.edu

image of Patti Maxwell and Doc Bruce of MB Family Foods
Patti Maxwell and Doc Bruce

“We didn’t start out with an idea of going into a food business. It was more of a progression of events that occurred from Doc’s Jamaican experience and his love of cooking that led us into the realm of making commercial sauces,” reveals Patti Maxwell. She and Doc Bruce are the co-owners of MB Family Foods. Their business makes and sells Caribbean inspired specialty sauces such as Jerk and Hot sauce.

Patti and Doc made this a commercial venture after years of making the sauces for friends and family members. They commented, “Every year we found ourselves making more and more of the sauces for holidays and birthdays so we decided to look into what it would take to make the sauces commercially.” Doc took a course to become a food safety manager. Patti researched Florida and national food law requirements. Their label and product look came from their daughter Paisley who drew a picture of a fish using watercolor in the third grade. She inspired her parents for the brand. Doc later added a Rasta cap and dreadlocks to finish the logo.

MB Family Foods went into business for themselves because they relished the idea of knowing they would get out what they put into the work. “We are our biggest fans!” remarks Patti. She adds, “We serve samples of these sauces all day and still go home and eat it for dinner.” They enjoy the flavor and believe in their product that much.

Their products were seeing success and they began to grow fast but weren’t sure where to go next. “You can really spin your wheels searching online for information. I think we could have saved ourselves a lot of steps if we had just used the Florida SBDC at UWF services’ in the beginning,” comments the pair. They concluded, “We came in with an objective to expand our business and become better organized in our day to day operations. The FSBDC was the perfect choice to make that happen.”

Patti has been attending training offered by the FSBDC at UWF. “I recently took their course on Record Keeping. The class helped improve my accounting skills and caused us to establish an emergency plan for our business.” Doc and Patti admitted they were previously paying hundreds of dollars in shipping fees to their home. After sharing these costs with their consultant Carl Quesinberry, Carl advised them to pick up shipments at the loading dock. “Carl’s advice helped us save $300. Not only that, he and the people there have been real partners in our business. From personal meetings, phone calls, emails or classes, the staff has taken an active interest in MB Family Foods. There is a lot of information to wade through and it just makes sense to take advantage of an organization like the FSBDC who offers no-cost business consulting. Carl provided us with experienced insight and led us to viable business contacts. I would tell any person who is considering opening a business to consult first with the FSBDC.”

MB Family Foods is expanding. They are currently being sold in various grocery stores and food markets. They are a finalist being considered and voted upon in the Martha Stewart American Made Contest. They were recently featured in the Pensacola News Journal, WEAR TV and BLAB TV. The FSBDC at UWF believes that more growth is on the way for them and we will continue helping them thrive.