Timber Ridge Country Market’s experience with the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s Pulled Pork Madness showed what real community support could do.
The businesses in Osceola and Clarke County, Iowa thrive on community support. From small, family-owned shops to big manufacturers, businesses of all sizes depend on the surrounding community for an extensive and talented workforce as well as dedicated customer support. Last month, Osceola’s Timber Ridge Country Market saw local customers and businesses alike come together in a way they never thought possible, making their entry into the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) Pulled Pork Madness contest a big win – no matter the final results.
In early March, IPPA had a team in Osceola taking part in pork industry-specific training at the Clarke County Fairgrounds. Wanting to keep their business local, a group of managers and administrators chose to have lunch at Timber Ridge Country Market on the square. Kim Jackson, Timber Ridge co-owner and operator, chatted up the customers, giving the crew insight into local events and other businesses in town, while one of the Pork professionals quietly savored every bite of their pulled pork sandwich. Within a few days, Kim and the Timber Ridge Country Market team were receiving a request from IPPA via Facebook asking them to enter the annual IPPA Pulled Pork Madness contest.
“I really didn’t have any intention of entering,” said Jackson. But her partner, employees, and local fans had other ideas.
Within a few days, with backing from her partner and award-winning smoker, Brian Deemer as well as employees, local customers, friends and family, the decision was made to enter the all-Iowa event.
“The encouragement to enter the contest kind of came as a surprise,” said Jackson. “But what we experienced next was absolutely unexpected.”
Within 24 hours of entering the contest, Kim, Brian and the staff at Timber Ridge started seeing the news of the contest spread. From employees and customers to their families and friends, as well as through fellow Chamber members, the votes for their pulled pork entry were quickly gaining on and passing the competition. In the home stretch, community members from every corner of Clarke County helped spread the news, reaching beyond the Timber Ridge team’s wildest imaginings.
“We even had other local businesses showing people how to work the online vote,” laughed Jackson. “That’s just amazing community support.”
And when the final smoke cleared, the winner was a team from Davenport, with Timber Ridge taking a close second.
“Are we disappointed? Heck no,” said Jackson. “We saw a community of just under 10,000 come together to challenge the entire state of Iowa and almost beat another amazing shop from Davenport, a community of more than 100,000. That’s a win in my book.”
Ultimately, Kim and the Timber Ridge team saw a community of customers and businesses alike come together to help one of their own reach amazing heights. Throughout the competition, the Timber Ridge Country Market Facebook page gained more than 600 new followers – a 35% jump – and sales of their pulled pork and other items like brisket and tenderloins have seen a surge like never before.
“We smoked two months’ worth of meat in ten days,” said co-owner and master smoker, Brian Deemer.
Win or lose, whatever their expectations were entering the contest, the team at Timber Ridge Country Market learned that with Osceola and Clarke County’s incredible community support, taking home second place is just as sweet as winning it all.