By Robert Stitt
You may not know the names Chevalo and Monique Wilsondebriano, but you might in the near future. The Wilsondebrianos own the Charleston Gourmet Burger Company and they just secured a deal with Lowe’s and Walmart.
According to Black News, Chevalo was an EMS first responder with the New York Fire Department on September 11, 2011. He was there when the second tower of the World Trade Center collapsed and is lucky to be alive. His wife was a single mother of teenagers. The couple now has a secret burger sauce recipe, a business plan, and some of the nation’s largest sponsors. They have been featured on the Today Show and The Food Network’s “Food Court Wars”.
The couple produces a Gourmet Burger Marinade and Sauce that is already sold at several Whole Foods locations, Sam’s, Costco, and military commissaries. By adding Lowe’s and Walmart to the equation, they add nearly 600 locations to their list of sales sites, in addition to the large Walmart online market.
Monique says, “We pinch ourselves everyday. I’ve been told that I would never amount to anything. No matter how bad of a situation I was in, I always knew that one day I would make a difference.”
The Atlanta Black Star notes that sales are going well and are a source of income of their household after Chevalo retired from the fire department. “We are coming up on gross sales of $1 million this year. The marinade is our bread and butter,” he said. The couple is hoping to add to their products with additional sauces and rubs as well as a freeze-packaged burger with the marinade already mixed in.
Chevalo says that after losing 343 friends and co-workers on 9/11, his life changed. Not only do they look at life as a huge second chance, but they give back by mentoring other entrepreneurs.