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McKenzie Robinson | SBJ

2021 Economic Impact Awards Entrepreneur of the Year: Don Helms

Taste of Success

Posted online

With just a taste of the barbecue sauce and salsa recipes from his friend, Cody Molina, Don Helms was hooked. 

The duo started Munchie Mo’s Sauces LLC  in 2019. While working together at Domino’s, Molina persuaded Helms to taste his recipes. The company was born shortly after, making gourmet smoked sauces – such as Munchie Mo’s Spicy Sauce – with healthy ingredients.

“I liked the sauce, which was very unusual. Usually, I don’t like barbecue sauce,” says Helms, who handles the day-to-day business operations of the startup. “When I liked it, I knew it was something totally different.”

After each investing $15,000 into the venture, the business partners soon found others who felt the same way about the products. The Branson-area venture has gained in popularity since, with direct-to-consumer sales and a limited rollout at regional grocery store chains. By April, the company had sold more than 500 bottles, priced at $8 apiece.

“I’m getting so many comments back,” Helms says. “Even the local chef community is loving it. They’re doing parties with it.”

Restaurateur Angel Kim is one of those believers.

The owner of Springfield restaurants ReRico Brazilian Grill and The Hill, an Italian eatery, says Helms and team are delivering a product that his customers are eating up.

“We are currently using their sauces in our restaurants and our customers are raving about it,” Kim says.

Kim’s VIP Marketing Enterprises LLC also counts Munchie Mo’s among its clients, and he says business is good.

“Our marketing company has noticed their website and social analysts growing at a rapid pace,” Kim says. “We’ve been able to send bottles to dozens of local retail grocery outlets, and customers are very happy.”

At Munchie Mo’s, Helms is now seeking to push the product line’s territory to garner further growth in restaurants and grocery chains. The business partners hope to grow their brand from the Springfield region to a five-state Midwest territory in the next few years. Declining to disclose revenue, Helms said the company currently sells products at four stores in Aurora, Branson and Holiday Island, Arkansas.

 “We want to take it as far as we can, definitely nationally and hopefully globally,” Helms says. “Honestly, we’ll just have to play it by ear.”

The company is adding employees, with Helms expecting Munchie Mo’s to be up to six workers soon.

 Speaking to the future of the company, Helms is not ruling out a potential sale of the business, if the opportunity presents itself.

“That being said, we are not actively looking to sell,” he says.


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