25 Feb Big Dreams for a Local Entrepreneur

Former Onin Teammate Dreams Big

In the era of Shark Tank, entrepreneurs seem to be everywhere. New products are constantly flooding the market—and most of the entrepreneurs behind them disappear quickly without making much of an impression. That’s not the case with Austin Payne, though. At the tender age of 21 (and after running his own business for five years and counting), he’s already made a big splash on his local food scene and has big plans to go every further.

Austin is the creator of Austin’s BBQ Sauce, the flagship product of Austin’s Foods Company, based in Mount Airy, North Carolina. Described as “a little heat, a little sweet, a little tangy!” it works well with all kinds of meat both on the grill or in a crock pot and has won hearts (and stomachs) throughout North Carolina. In fact, some of Austin’s customers have even come up with another use for it: “I’ve got people—I kid you not!—even turning it upside down and drinking the sauce straight from the bottle,” he says. Clearly, he’s found a recipe for success!

He hasn’t had an easy row to hoe, however. Born with a condition called a Vein of Galen aneurysmal malformation, Austin underwent about a dozen surgeries before the age of 15. Echoing what doctors told his parents, he says it’s a “miracle” that he’s alive because most people with that condition die at birth. He surprised everyone by surviving and went on to defy the predictions from pessimists that he “would never accomplish anything in life . . . and would basically be a failure.” On the contrary: he’s already achieved one business goal and has set his sights on even more! This fall he’s heading to New York City to pitch his product and explore new business opportunities, and he’s working to try to get his BBQ sauce for sale on QVC one day.

While pursuing his entrepreneurial dreams, Austin is also working full time. He spent five and a half months employed through Onin Staffing in a position that eventually turned into direct employment with CK Technologies and is grateful for that opportunity. “Onin took care of me,” he says. “They got me where I needed to be in the right amount of time. I really do appreciate that, because not a lot of staffing agencies are like that. They were very helpful in getting me on the right track.”

Even though Austin no longer works with Onin, we’re still big fans of his BBQ sauce. He exhibits the kind of determination and professionalism that we value in all of our employees. We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors, and we look forward to seeing where his drive for success takes him next!

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