Meet the Maker: Maynard Brummitt and Laura Motes, Hogs Heaven Pork Rinds

  • , by Hannah Lee Leidy
  • 3 min reading time

           

Maynard Brummitt, original founder of Hogs Heaven Pork RindsMaynard Redford Brummitt lived life with a “more is more” philosophy. The founder of Hogs Heaven pork rinds grew up on a farm near Raleigh, North Carolina. In his teens, he started bagging groceries at the nearby A&P Grocery Store—from there, his hunger to learn the ins and outs of the store opened doors to an entire career in food sales.
When Brummitt began a sales position with Lipton Tea Company, he maintained a multi-year streak for top sales. He was the first to ever sell an entire railcar of Lipton Tea, and at his peak, he sold eight railcars of tea to Atlanta's division of Winn-Dixies. Always looking to grow, Brummitt launched his own company while still with Lipton, called Fix It or Build It, for contracted house projects. 
A position with the So Good Potato Chip Co. took him and his family to Atlanta. While there, Brummitt worked in sales and eventually managed the entire crew at the production plant.

After a few years, Brummitt went out on his own. The family relocated to the Atlanta suburb Lithonia, where Brummitt debuted his own brand, MRB Snacks, in 1989. The focus: perfectly seasoned, crackling pork rinds.

He reached out to Spice of Life, a seasoning company, and described his ideal flavors for the products. Through trial and error, they developed what would become the BBQ, Hot, and Salt ’n’ Vinegar flavors for Hogs Heaven chicharrones. Each flavor was anchored in the seasoning’s staying power, discernible all the way through the bag.

Once he developed his product, Brummitt’s prowess as a salesman took charge. He’d leave home at 3 a.m. and make sales calls in towns as far as 8 hours away. Then, he’d journey home for a quick nap before repeating it all the next day. After a year, his big break came in the form of a partnership with Ingles, a supermarket chain based in Black Mountain, North Carolina. They let Brummitt display the pork rinds in the meat aisle and were the first to introduce “buy-one, get-one” sales on bags of the product. Thirty-three years later, Ingles is still the largest buyer of Hogs Heaven pork rinds.

Brummitt’s daughter, Laura Motes, watched all iterations of Brummitt’s career. “He excelled at everything,” she says.Laura Motes, current owner of Hogs Heaven Pork Rinds“The word ‘less’ was not in his vocabulary.” Motes joined him in the family business in 1990, handling office administration tasks. Her role grew to encompass more responsibilities, and from her father, she learned sales savvy and first-class customer service.

Eventually, in 2008, Motes became the company’s legal owner and Brummitt retired to a life of gardening and woodworking, though Motes continued to pick his brain for business tips and his feedback. “I grew up on pork rinds, and to actually own a company that makes them is like an extension of my childhood. An extension of my childhood in a bag,” she says.

Maynard Redford Brummitt passed in 2018, and Motes leaned on what she learned from her father’s zeal for business. She introduced a rebrand of Hogs Heaven with new packaging and additional flavors that she developed herself, Extreme Hot being her favorite.

“I’ve been allowed to carry on his legacy,” she says. “I’ve got a picture of him and my mom. When I get on business calls, I can look at them and I’m reminded that I’m still holding up this company and trying to be a good steward.”

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