When Marla Gentry realized that her husband Jeff was exceptionally good at cooking and smoking meat for their family, she began to think about the options to market his talents. In June 2015, Jeff and Marla recognized how popular food trucks were becoming and decided to take a chance and start a business. The couple set up a food truck specializing in smoked meat items, named Smoke Signals LLC. They set up the truck in various locations in and around Indianola.
In February 2016 after searching for a truck and beginning to plan their business, the Gentrys reached out to Mid Iowa SBDC for guidance on how to form a successful business. Jan Bruene assisted them in becoming familiar with business terminology and requirements. She also guided them through the process of receiving a loan and setting up their business. When asked about her experience, Marla explains, “SBDC was accessed easily and set up appointments in a timely manner. Representatives were knowledgeable and friendly.”
Jeff and Marla have had extensive success with their sales nearly doubling. They have had many surprising and exciting moments throughout their business journey, but one of their business triumphs is having customers come back time and again to cater more events. With food trucks being so popular, marketing their business has been one of their biggest challenges, but it has not held them back. The SBDC worked with them to set up their social media advertising. They also made sure to receive feedback from all of their customers on the items they sold and are always experimenting with new menu items, but making sure that the smoked meat is their main attraction. The Gentrys hope to begin taking on larger events and continue growing.
For more information on Smoke Signals LLC, please visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Smokesignalsfoodtruck/.