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Sweet and Sassy success: Clara Niehues

Clara Niehues is celebrating her fifth year of working in registration at the Holton Clinic. She also makes Clara's Famous Sweet & Sassy BBQ Sauce. Clara recently took time to answer a few questions.

What do you like about your job at CHCS?

I enjoy my job because I have wonderful co-workers, and all the staff here is like a second family. I also appreciate the opportunity to assist people with getting scheduled to have their healthcare needs met.

How long have you been making BBQ sauce commercially, and how did you get started?

I have been making BBQ Sauce commercially for seven years now. The sauce is a simple recipe I used for my family when my children were growing up. When our oldest daughter was engaged, my husband was asked to do a whole-hog barbeque for the bachelor/bachelorette party, and I was asked to provide the BBQ sauce. It seemed to be a hit and was requested at numerous events over the years. My children encouraged me to keep the recipe a secret and produce it for retail. After attending a meeting sponsored by Glacial Hills, we began the process to produce it commercially.  

What do you enjoy about the BBQ sauce business? Do you make other products?

It is fun to hear that people enjoy something that I make. I've been told, "We use it with everything, like a dip with fries and chips." In the past, I have made a couple flavors of fudge and baklava [a layered pastry dessert made of filo pastry, filled with chopped nuts, and sweetened with honey] to sell at holiday events.  

What makes your sauce special? Where is it available for purchase?

Clara's Famous Sweet & Sassy BBQ sauce is very simple, sweet and tangy, not overpowering -- but enhancing to the flavor of the meat. Folks can find the sauce at the CHCS Coffee and Gift Shop, a couple of stores in Holton and Seneca, Fulmer's at Belvue, Centralia and Hearthside at Sabetha.

What advice do you have for people interested in their own food business?

People interested in marketing a product will need to be prepared to be licensed to cook at a commercial kitchen, have the product tested, and choose packaging and labeling. Depending on what you make, there are many regulations to follow, and it requires investment of your time and money.


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