DALLAS (CBDFW.COM) – Like so many recession born entrepreneurs, Torrey Morgan’s pink slip four years ago forced him to chart a new path. At his wife’s urging, he turned to something he loved — homemade beef jerky. But, that’s hardly a route that adds up to ‘Meat Maniac’, his online exotic food company. He’d have to ramp it up a bit… so he did.
“Kangaroo, alligator, wild boar, ostrich,” says Morgan, as he lists some of his unique inventory. But, he soon realized that the “crazy wild game flavors” were outselling his run of the mill beef and pork.
So, Morgan decided to capitalize on customers’ craving for the bizarre. In addition to his own crazy concoctions — bacon flavored soda and bacon scented candles — he began stocking gourmet bugs.
If you’re eating right now, you might want to stop. But, if on the other hand, this Halloween has you looking to get grossed out… just keep going.
“We’ve got the edible crickets, larvettes, which are kind of ya know, mealy worms [think : maggots], scorpion suckers and the ant candy,” says Morgan. And that’s just the beginning of his unimaginable edible treats. Bacon and cheese flavored crickets? He’s got them. And the bugs are selling like gangbusters.
“Halloween’s for older adults, too. [They’re] wanting to do something crazy and different and have a good time.”
Morgan says his business has been growing steadily since he removed the Christmas tree four years ago to turn the family living room into a shipping center. “After that, the wife said, ‘no more’. Luckily, our sales were there and we could afford to move out of the house and make it a legitimate business.”
In fact, he says Meat Maniac’s sales doubled in the first year and have been only going upward ever since. There is a small down side, however. The Mrs. makes him try everything he sells.
He’s not too crazy about the scorpion suckers — yes, that would be a lollipop with a real scorpion embedded inside. It’s “kind of gooey, like a gummy bear.”
The ‘larvettes’ on the other hand, he says are surprisingly good. “They basically kind of taste like a crunchy flavored sunflower seed,” Morgan says with a laugh, “If you can just get over the texture and the fact that you’re eating a bug! It’s not that bad!” And he dissolves into another round of laughter.
Morgan should be jolly… he’s laughing all the way to bank. 99% of Meat Maniac’s sales are generated online. But, business has been so good that he’s looking to open a local retail outlet sometime next year.
“I’ve finally found my niche, and business is great.”
Looking back, he says, losing his job was “the best thing that ever happened to me.” Now, the laid off restaurant worker is hiring part time help to get through the holiday rush. The company’s success, he says, has been nothing short of amazing.
So when he gets butterflies in his stomach, now… one might suspect that they might just be real!
“And tasty!”, Morgan adds with a contented laugh.
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