Gary’s QuickSteak named 2021 Best Local Product by Russ’s Market

Gary’s QuickSteak named 2021 Best Local Product by Russ’s Market

Gary’s QuickSteak named 2021 Best Local Product by Russ’s Market 

Baker's Candies Nebraska box

Kearney, Neb. — GROW Nebraska is thrilled to congratulate Glenn Valley Foods for receiving Russ’s Market’s Best Local Product Award for 2021! The award was presented on July 15 at GROW’s annual MarkeTech Conference in Kearney, Nebraska.

The Best Local Product Award was established in 2018 by 501(c)3 nonprofit, GROW Nebraska and Russ’s Market — an employee-owned grocery fixture in the state of Nebraska — in order to highlight what they consider to be an exemplary local business in the state. These award winners display dynamic marketing strategies and diligent promotion of their products, which can also be found on the shelves of Russ’ Market.

This year’s winner, Glenn Valley Foods of Omaha, Neb., might be better-recognized by its top-selling product: Gary’s QuickSteak.

“Gary’s QuickSteak — they do a great job of promoting their products in our stores,” said Director of Marketing for Russ’s Market, Marty Jarvis. “They work with us on advertising support, and give us bunkers with videos that talk about the product. On Facebook and other social media, they spread the word that their product is in our stores. They’ve also been at the Russ’s Wine and Food experience with their samples. They don’t let their product just sit on the shelves.”

Gary Rohwer, a restaurant industry veteran, has been active in Nebraska’s restaurant landscape since the early 1980s when he created what he deemed a “quicker cooking and higher quality steak” for his cheesesteak restaurant chain in Lincoln. Eventually creating the popular PepperJax Grill and forming Glenn Valley Foods, Gary’s extensive contributions have culminated in Gary’s QuickSteak, a top-quality beef, chicken, and corned beef offering that cooks from frozen to ready-to-eat in minutes.

When asked about Glenn Valley Foods’ approach to promotion, VP of Marketing Jeff Bell said, “Really it makes my job easy — the product stands on its own. It’s high quality, cooks from frozen in minutes, and provides incredibly versatile meal choices.”

Because the company is relatively new, however, Jeff explained that, “Our goal is to get it out there to the marketplace. We’d like our product to become a household name, and so we don’t just get on the shelf and think our work is done. We’re going to the grocery partners and introducing our product, sending samples, telling them our story; we’re a family-owned business right here in the Midwest.”

GROW Nebraska and Russ’s Market are proud to partner on this award, and continue in their dedication to support and promote the local businesses and business owners who enrich life and the economy of our state.  

Russ’s Market has been a member of GROW Nebraska since 2009. B&R Stores, Inc., was founded in 1964 by Russ Raybould. During the past 55 years, the company has grown to include 20 stores under several banners including Russ’s Market, Super Saver, and Apple Market located in Nebraska and Iowa. 

GROW Nebraska is a nonprofit membership organization, serving over 400 Nebraska small businesses. The organization provides market access, education, and training to launch and connect Nebraska businesses to the global marketplace. GROW Nebraska’s educational programs and scholarship opportunities are funded in part by federal and state funding, along with generous support from foundations and individual donors.

Story by Lauren Bonk, owner of the Curtain and Pen Copywriting Services, a GROW Nebraska member. Lauren hails from Kearney, NE, where she works as a freelance copywriter for small businesses, startups, and even larger corporate entities in need of professionally-written marketing content for their businesses and organizations. 

All Big Businesses Start Small: Fat Boy Natural BBQ

All Big Businesses Start Small: Fat Boy Natural BBQ

All Big Businesses Start Small: Fat Boy BBQ


Fat Boy BBQ seasoning

Microsoft and Apple started in garages, and Facebook started in a dorm room.

Meanwhile, Dorothy Lynch started selling her famous salad dressing at a Legion Hall in St. Paul, Nebraska. Todd Booth began his successful automotive business by working in the wash bay at a local car dealership after he graduated from high school.

While GROW Nebraska businesses haven’t reached the magnitude of Facebook, Apple and Microsoft, many have grown from small businesses to successful enterprises that are continually increasing sales, creating jobs and bringing Nebraska to the world.

GROW Nebraska members Dorothy Lynch, Jayhawk Boxes, Baker’s Candies, Platte Valley Auto and Fat Boy BBQ are all successful businesses that started small and have grown tremendously in the past few decades.

Success didn’t happen overnight for these small-town Nebraska businesses. From creating quality products to treating customers well and keeping up with technology, each business has created its own unique path to prosperity. And, for many, GROW Nebraska has played a part in their success.

Fat Boy BBQ
-Hickman, NE

JB’s Fat Boy was a Grafton staple – started by John Burt in 2002. He traveled throughout the country doing BBQ competitions and started marketing his rubs he used to the public. Over time, he added sauces to the mix.

Wanting to retire to the Ozarks, JB sold the business to Erin and Kirk Malzer in 2013. In the time since then, they have grown the business to include 16 rubs, several of which have won national awards. Each rub has a distinctive taste and texture, and the rubs seal the meat to create a juicy and flavorful meat dish. They also expanded products to include 11 sauces – including a honey mustard, a finishing glaze and a marinade.

Wanting to freshen the brand, the Malzers dropped the JB’s and changed the company name to Fat Boy BBQ five years ago. Nearly all of their products are natural, and most are gluten free. Their sauces have a lower water content than most sauces on the market and do not contain any high fructose corn syrup.

“Since purchasing the business, we have more than doubled the sales,” Erin Malzer said. “Our products can be found in eight divisions of Kroger, all Hy-Vee stores, all Fareway stores, all Westlake Hardware stores and many other chains and independents throughout the country.” 

The company has grown from a staff of two to six, their product currently sells in 36 states, and they are working on expanding product sales into the western part of the country. In 2022, Fat Boy BBQ will sell its products in Canada as well.

Fat Boy BBQ’s most popular products are its Premium All Purpose rub, Sweet rub, and Steak rub and the top sauces are Haugwaush, Sticky Stuff and Chipotle.

Erin said she attributes the company’s growth to a quality product.

“Our repeat business from stores and individuals purchasing online proves the product is at a standard that keeps people coming back,” she said.

The original owner had joined GROW Nebraska to help launch his business, and the Malzers have been GROW members since they become the owners.

For more information or to order Fat Boy BBQ products, click here. 

Story by Kristine Jacobson, GROW Nebraska member and owner of KRJ Public Relations, a business that helps non-profits and businesses tell their stories and gain momentum through blogs, newsletters, annual reports, social media and other publications.