Rushville resident Ywan Jenkins, 40, recently opened Ollie’s Family BBQ and Catering food truck. He will operate the food truck on Fridays, Saturdays and some Sundays in Rushville.
“I really enjoy cooking,” Jenkins said. “I started years ago working at the Country Cooker. Ever since then I’ve enjoyed cooking and barbequing.”
Ollie’s is the newest and only food truck in Rushville.
To help start his business, Jenkins applied for and received a Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG), which is a part of the USDA Rural Development Grant Program, through a partnership with the Rush County Economic and Community Development Corporation (ECDC) and East Central Indiana Small Business Development Center in Richmond (ISBDC).
The program is a competitive grant designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas. Businesses must employ 50 or fewer new employees and have less than $1 million in gross revenue to apply for the grant.
“It’s a wonderful program,” Director of the Rush County ECDC John McCane said. “Our goal is for him to be successful. I think he’s got a good business plan.”
In total, the ECDC has provided $300,000 through such grants to 12 local businesses. The ECDC has given grants to businesses like Twisted Sisters Bar and Gettinger Family Custom Meats in the past.
“It’s intended for businesses that are starting out. We are there to help folks who may not be able to get financing from traditional banks,” McCane said. “There are a lot of people that have good ideas they just have to figure out how to get them started. Through the partnership with the ISBDC, it helps them get their plan together. We’ll continue it as long as there’s an interest.”
Jenkins thanked Business Advisor Scott Underwood with the ISBDC for helping get his business established.
Jenkins’ love for cooking derives from growing up watching his grandmother. The name Ollie’s is a tribute to her.
“I figured that would be something nice for her. I learned what I could from her,” Jenkins said. “She had her own secret recipes and everything. I just followed her around and watched her in the kitchen when we were kids. She inspired me to do this.”
His wife Amiee, sons XxZavien and Kai and daughter Keyera will help him run the food truck.
Jenkins served food at his first event on Saturday, July 27. He also served those who attended movie night at Waggener Community Pool last Friday night and the Mayor’s Summer Splash last Sunday.
Ollie’s will be a featured food truck at the amphitheater during concerts and other events as well. Eventually, Jenkins hopes to hire one or two employees to staff his food truck.
Jenkins works at Fountaintown Forge Inc., which is why he will only operate his food truck on Fridays and weekends for now. He recently formed a partnership with Gettinger Family Custom Meats to provide meat for his food truck.
Jenkins is unsure where he will be centrally located, but is currently looking into locations to set up shop. There’s a chance he will be located at the Gettinger Family Custom Meats parking lot at times.
Eventually, he would like to expand his menu and feature east coast favorites like the Philly cheesesteak.
“Right now our menu is small, but were doing pulled pork, hamburgers, hot dogs and pulled pork nachos,” Jenkins said. “We are looking to get into Philly cheesesteaks, french fries, brisket and chicken.”
McCane said Ollie’s Family BBQ and Catering will be a unique addition to the community.
“I think immediately it’s going to provide a different amenity to the community,” McCane said. “If you go to Indianapolis on certain days you may see an entire road full of food trucks. What I like about what Ywan is doing, he’s trying to work with other folks who might be vendors, so they aren’t cannibalizing each other’s business.”
Jenkins is looking toward the future of his business though he’s just starting out.
“In five years I would like to expand by opening a barbeque restaurant in Rushville,” Jenkins said. “I was looking to put on another food truck, but I think a restaurant would probably be best suited for the community. Baby steps are where I’m at with this.”
Jenkins is focused on providing well-priced, good food to the local community.
“It’s a dream come true,” Jenkins said of opening his business. “My number one goal is to build it as I go. We will strive to do our best, keep our prices reasonable and give a good quality and quantity of food.”
Contact Ollie’s Family BBQ and Catering by calling 765-570-2022. Those interested may also follow Ollie’s Family BBQ and Catering on Facebook.