We are lucky. And we know it. From the very beginning, we have assembled an amazing roster of business partners who have helped us to define and sharpen our approach to the countless details that go into launching a business. We and our partners are united in supporting the mission of Smoke Hall Foods:
- make amazing products that our customers love
- have fun working with great people
- serve the greater good
- be an honorable company that sets the right example for others who aspire to achieve a similar mission
If it’s true that the fastest-forgotten human emotion is gratitude, then here’s our effort to remember how grateful we are to these amazing partners:
The University of South Carolina’s Marketing and Management Departments have been valued partners of ours since the day we formed our business. Student teams have done superb work with us around audience segmentation exercises, category analysis, marketing tactics and strategies, and P&L planning. We are honored to be an active client company within the Darla Moore School of Business, and we are proud to be a client of The Carolina Agency, USC’s award winning, in-house, student run media agency. USC interns and alums have been serving in active, paid roles at Smoke Hall Foods, and we look forward to continuing this special partnership.
The LSU AgCenter has been a critical partner for us in understanding and correctly navigating the entirety of the agricultural and food science half of our industry. They have helped us write our proprietary playbook on seed management, field preparations, disease and insect control, and growing our peppers using organic practices and tactics. The Food Science team has guided us through all the regulatory and best practices around pepper harvest, pepper aging and fermentation, small-batch sauce preparation, and all relevant safety factors. We have been the beneficiaries of support from a team at LSU that is genuinely interested in helping small businesses to succeed, and we hope to expand this partnership with the AgCenter as our business grows.
Coastal Carolina University's Teal Nation Communications group is leading the charge for us with B2B partnership development, exploration of opportunities in the food service industry, and storytelling outreach across the expansive specialty retail landscape. These impressive young men and women are creative thinkers with a bias towards action and results, we feel lucky to be partners with them in our mission to help military and Veteran families.
RIT’s Packaging Science team has embraced the opportunity to work with us on advanced packaging concepts worthy of an ultra-premium product; several of these designs created by the team will be released later this year. This crew has been invaluable in helping us to understand packaging and closure options, materials, the balance of creativity vs. durability, and the realities of in-transit product protection. The students have brought the highest levels of energy and creativity, and they get great support from engaged, motivated faculty and staff.
Zing Bias Inc. has been our partner from Day One for overall design, label, website, logo, and general digital creative work. They work with dozens of major brands on projects much larger than ours, but they embraced our mission and have accepted us as a client. This team brings the very best ideas, turns quickly on changes, hits every deadline, and communicates with a flexible, collaborative spirit. zingbias.com
Michael Altobello Photography, based in Columbia County, NY, is generally acknowledged to be one of the finer photographers and digital editors in North America for luxury product shoots, golf landscapes, and architectural photography. They have pushed us to re-think product image and appearance, have expanded our thinking on the visual representation of our product, and have been disciplined operators who work on time and on budget.
Mission BBQ operates what we think is the finest network of barbecue restaurants in America, mostly in the mid-Atlantic region. They are a purpose-based business with values (not to mention products) that align closely with those of Smoke Hall Foods, and they operate in a fun, friendly, high-quality manner. They are our partner of choice to feed hundreds of our guests at our annual Army-Navy tailgater after everyone finishes the finest appetizer in the world (the General’s wings, of course), and their event arrival, set-up, and support simply must be seen to be believed. If you haven’t been to one of their restaurants, I urge you to stop reading, grab your keys, and leave now.