Talking Shop with Karen Freeman, founder, Avery's Amazing Marinade

Monday, August 9, 2010
Karen Freeman is the woman behind Avery's Amazing Marinade and Cuisine Enhancer. (Fred Lynch)

Karen Freeman of Gordonville turned a recipe she created into a new career and growing business with Avery's Amazing Marinade. Freeman now sells and demonstrates the product at several local stores and hopes to soon take the product, named after her dog, to stores nationwide.

Q: What inspired you to start bottling Avery's Amazing Marinade? Where is the marinade actually manufactured?

A: I came up with the recipe years ago, and it was always requested that I bring it to barbecues and other get-togethers we attended. Everyone always raved about it so I just decided to give [selling] it a try. I contacted one of my husband's customers in Tennessee, who do a lot of private label bottling, and after several meetings and taste tests I was on my way. They were very helpful in getting me started.

Q: Where is your product currently available?

A: Right now it is in Schnucks stores in Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Ill., and Arnold, Mo. It is also in the Cape Girardeau and Sikeston Food Giants, Fruitland American Meats, Old Hickory, One Stop on Route K and Salon Brielle. Yes, it even sells in a hair salon. The plan is to have it in all Schnucks and Food Giants in the next several months.

Q: Tell me about your experience with show dogs and how they inspired the name for this product.

A: Mike, my husband, had a Great Dane when we got married 33 years ago, and we started showing shortly afterward. I always loved Pembroke Welsh Corgis and bought a puppy 10 years ago that became a champion, and I've been hooked on the breed since then. The Danes are his and the Corgis mine, but we have both had top winning dogs and many champions. Avery is a puppy out of my first litter. Even though he didn't turn out to be a show dog, he is one of my favorites. So when trying to come up with a name for the marinade his name came up, and it stuck.

Q: What's your company's long-term goal? Do you have plans for any additional flavors or varieties?

A: We started in the Cape Girardeau Schnucks back in February of this year and it was an instant success. Our goal is to go nationwide. I sent a bottle to Cracker Barrel, which could be huge if they decide to carry it in their stores. Right now I am concentrating on the original flavor, but I do have some ideas for others.

Q: Recognizing the recipe is closely guarded, what are a few of the key ingredients that make this product?

A: I will tell you that it has a soy sauce base, but the rest is secret.

Q: What do you enjoy most about sharing your product with customers when you are doing demonstrations at grocery stores?

A: I have always enjoyed meeting people, and to hear their wonderful comments after they try it just makes you feel great.

Q: Have you always enjoyed cooking? What's your favorite thing to make?

A: Yes I have, and according to people who have eaten my cooking I do a pretty good job. My favorite thing to eat that I make is my chili. I can eat it 12 months out the year. And yes, I do add some Avery's to it to give it that special flavor.

Q: You said that you are reinventing yourself with this product. What did you do before you started making marinade?

A: I've had a cleaning business for the last 23 years and have realized that I can't do that forever. The marinade is something that I can do for a long time and know that I am providing a product that people really enjoy. That's a great feeling.

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