What started off as Brenda Lovingood’s popular, homemade BBQ sauce served at family functions is now a business deal.

The Peoria native now owns “Lovingood Foods” specializing in BBQ sauce. 

“That’s what I do and I love doing it,” Brenda said. “From a child, I’ve loved to cook. And everything I’ve cooked is usually from scratch. And having a husband and 11 children you need to know how to cook.” 

Brenda works alongside her husband and Vice President, Tony. And even though all 11 adult children are now spread throughout the country, each person helps contribute to the family business in their own way.

Brenda said her entrepreneurial adventure started with a lot of “quality control experts” on hand.

“It was fun because it’s like when they ate, that’s what brought me joy,” she said. “Watching my family and others enjoy the food that they were eating.”

Brenda and her team started getting “Lovingood Foods” operations underway in 2016 and in 2018, they started sales.

“I literally, from January to April that year, sold it out of the trunk of the car to family and friends that knew about it,” she recalled. 

From trunks to stores, Lovingood’s BBQ sauce can now be found in 23 locations across central Illinois and the Midwest.

“It took off even faster than we thought it would,” Brenda said. “It’s a calling from God. I’ve tried several time to put this on the back burner and it just kept popping up, just kept popping up.”

As for what comes next, Brenda says she’s looking to expand nationwide and even start serving other recipes.

“Others things like my biscuits, my sausage gravy. I have spaghetti sauce, lots of other things,” she said.

But no matter what other changes may come, she’s got her food, family and faith to rely on.

“People, they sit down and they eat and just they’re in a different place,” Brenda said. “They’re just enjoying and makes me enjoy.”

The family buisness is having a tasting at the Grand Prairie Hyvee on May 4. 

For a list of places to buy Lovingood’s BBQ products, click here.