This was a classic case of "We liked it so much we bought the company"! Purchased by Marilee & Christo Weber in 2011, Trilby's already had a long history of happy people in it's wake!
The following is an excerpt from an interview with Trilby's daughter that's tells how it all began:
Necessity isn’t the only mother of invention.
Sometimes it’s Mom herself.
Trilby Wiedman had developed a part-time catering business while raising her children in Silverdale, WA. Her specialty was barbecued meatballs, but there was a problem. "She didn't like any of the sauces out there, so she made her own," says her daughter, Laura (Wiedman) Joseph.
This led to another, but quite different, problem. When Trilby eased out of the catering business after more than 20 years, friends and neighbors kept asking for her sauce. That's when Laura came to the rescue of barbecue chefs across the country.
Laura and husband Mark Joseph began producing Trilby's BBQ Sauce in 1997. They started with two varieties, Mild and Spicy, and later added a barbecue rub of dry seasonings to their product line. The sauce's popularity with caterers and every-day cooks stems from its sweet-and-tangy flavor, plus its versatility. Trilby's BBQ Sauce is used for basting, mixing with ground beef, and even dipping appetizers.
"It's goes with anything!" Laura exclaims. "A lot of people replace their ketchup with it."
With help from the production facility of a Bellingham friend, Marti Jones of Marti's Dressings & Marinades, the Josephs began commercial production. They started selling their sauce to friends and co-workers, and then going to craft shows and the Bellingham Farmers Market. Their big break came in 1999 when Jack Bishop, manager of the Fairhaven Red Apple supermarket in Bellingham, tasted the sauce on some barbecue sandwiches and asked to sell it in his store.
Two years later, Bellingham-based Haggen, Inc., began selling Trilby's BBQ Sauce at most of its Haggen and TOP Food outlets in Washington and Oregon. Now the sauce can be found at 30+ retail outlets, as well as select craft shows in Western Washington.
For Laura Joseph, the sales growth is nice, but Trilby's daughter beams while recalling "the calls and letters from people saying this is the best stuff they've ever had. It's satisfying to know you're part of something that people love."
By 2007, their production facility had moved to the historic Carnation building in Ferndale, where they were sharing a kitchen with Barb's Pies & Pastries. But as their business growing, so was their family. In 2011, their 2 daughters, Morgan (age 9) & Leah (age 7) were in need of a lot more of their time and attention. Laura had put a lot of heart and soul into the business, and after losing her mom, Trilby's had even greater meaning for her. Stretched between the past and future, she finally reached the decision that it was time to let the business go, but she knew that she couldn't let it go if it wasn't to the right person.
During this time, Marilee Weber was working as the production manager for Lopez Island Creamery, making handmade, small batch ice cream. Previously she was the owner of a small candy store on San Juan Island, where she made a lot of her own products. Although she enjoyed making ice cream, she longed for her own business again and so began looking around for another opportunity. That's when she saw Trilby's listed for sale. When Laura and Marilee met for the first time, they both knew it was meant to be. When you expand the picture to include Marilee's husband Christo, it looks even better. Christo brings more than 3 decades of cooking experience, a passion for smoking meats and a lifelong addiction to BBQ sauce. Could it be more perfect?
Today the Webers carry on the tradition of hand-crafted, small batch production and remain committed to the same quality standards that bring you the products you know and love. They continue to share the kitchen with Barb in Ferndale. Stop by to say hi or look for the Webers at over 30 craft shows throughout the year from Bellingham to Tacoma. Visit our events page for a calender of the events where you can find Trilby's throughout the year.
Since taking over, the Weber's have expanded the Trilby's line of products by introducing the Chipotle Marionberry BBQ Sauce and continue to add to their line of seasonings and dip mixes. During the summer you may find Christo serving BBQ sandwiches at local farmer's markets or you may find Marilee playing with chocolate again and offering some of her fudge and candies around the holidays.