Matt Grapko, a member of the KENHTEKE KANYEN’KEHÁ:KA (Mohawks Bay of Quinte) established 1Man2Pans Meditati Inc (Meditati is latin for imagine) operating as Liquid Gold Hot Sauces in November 2021. The company manufactures four levels of hot sauce in varying spice levels: 1. Cayenne (medium), 2. Habanero (hot), 3. Ghost Pepper (fire) and 4. Carolina Reaper (inferno). “I created Liquid Gold from scratch. I have over 18 years experience as a chef. I am currently growing my business everyday a little bit at a time. I started out with just bottles locally here in Tofino BC, now I have bottle for sale in Tofino, Ucluelet, Port Alberni, Alberta and just recently started a restaurant version that will be available in restaurants throughout Canada by 2023,” explains Matt.
He says the main reason he started the company is to give back. Before he sold his first bottle, he decided to split $1 from every bottle sold to two causes. The first cause is the warrior program that Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations has for youth and the other is the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Matt believes helping the causes are the best thing about his business and finds pleasure in knowing as his business grows, more money will be donated to help indigenous youth programs, eventually throughout Canada, fund Alzheimer’s research and families affected by the horrible disease.
Matt created Liquid Gold for those that are tired of boring old hot sauce and want to enjoy their food while still getting the burn hot sauce brings to the table. He wanted to make a hot sauce that people could enjoy without the lingering burning sensation that normally is associated with hot sauces.
So, he invented Liquid Gold, a hot sauce that is full of flavor, has real 24karat edible gold in every bottle and gives you the fire without that lingering burning sensation and makes your food taste better. Hearing that people who dislike or can’t have hot sauce try Liquid Gold and love it makes Matt proudest.
“Words can’t describe how grateful I am. I make hot sauce that makes a difference in people’s lives and I will always be humbled by that… The value is not in the sauce itself, but what Liquid Gold hot sauce can accomplish for the causes and I appreciate everyday I wake up…
Anytime you cook and it brings either a smile or a good emotion attached with eating, and Liquid Gold does that on many levels… is a great success, more than the dollar value that others might measure success with.”
Matt would like to thank all his supporters. He exclaims, “I have had such a amazing support group:
- His family and friends: dad, adopted mom and the whole Grapko extended family, his dear friend El Capitan (probably the number one person who put out all the doubt fires about his company);
- a pub owner in Calgary that promoted liquid gold as a wing flavour;
- his chef;
- Long Beach Lodge resort for being so supportive with the use of their kitchen and talking about business aspects, from marketing, logistics, accounting;
- Greater Board of Vancouver, with amazing business programs to help you understand aspects of trade not only in Canada but internationally;
- both the people and towns of Tofino and Ucluelet;
- the NEDC (Nuu-Chah-Nulth Economic Development Corporation) in Port Alberni, so grateful to all the employees there;
- Cedar Ridge Designs for putting up with my crazy graphic ideas and keeping me grounded on what would work and not work with branding, labels, logo; and
- all the people that Liquid Gold hot sauce has touched, whether it’s just for the flavor, the donation side or the story of how it came to be.
Matt has learned a lot on his entrepreneurial journey and has a lot of to share with others. He advises the following to other aspiring entrepreneurs:
- Find a support network
- not only through family and friends, but professional,
- reach out to others who are in the same field as your business, find them on the internet and Google is your best friend to help accomplish that,
- Your business is not going to be successful all on it’s own, you have to put in as much as you want to get out of it.
- Building your business takes time, understanding and patience.
- Fully understand that although starting your own business can be a scary and intimidating, you have to follow through
- Mistakes and poor judgment will happen, but as long as you learn from those, your business and peace of mind will thank you in the long run
- Have fun, be serious when it’s needed
- Enjoy the small successes in the beginning
- Set a business closure time in the beginning stage and the rest of the day is for you. And family and friends. You need you time, at least 2 hrs a day, or you will burn out and not only your business will suffer but all those around you will too.
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