SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – The summer season may be gone, but that won’t stop many Siouxlanders from enjoying their hobby of firing up the smoker. With many products to choose from, a one-time Sioux City paperboy and grocery bagger is hoping Siouxlanders will crack open a bottle of his family recipe rub.
Once a hitmaker on the football field, Matt Chatham is now tackling the competition in a totally different arena.
Matt Chatham knows plenty about competition, but now the former two-sport all-state athlete at Sioux City North, USD football hall-of-famer, and three-time Super Bowl winner with the New England Patriots, is winning in a new game.
“It’s cool to me because I grew up a paperboy with the Sioux City Journal,” he said, “worked at HyVee in high school, and I had those kinds of jobs… around those kinds of products. And to think my stuff is in there, [people] buying it from me and how much care and thousands of hours went into making them excellent.”
Yes, Matt Chatham, who still lives out east, is passionate about everything he does. That includes his latest venture in the retail game. Rub Smoke Love for chicken and beef are now on sale at 21 Bomgaars stores, including two in Sioux City.
“We’ve been online,” Chatham said. “I’ve sold a lot of stuff in Iowa and South Dakota so far… but our first retail location up there.”
“Had the success Matt has had, Super Bowl champs, starting a business, now we can come back to Siouxland and see the success from that,” said Doug Savage, the chief merchant at Bomgaars. “It’s always nice to see those guys after an NFL career doing something else with their lives and making a go of it on his own.”
Chatham, the entrepreneur, said he has had an unquenchable passion for smoking food his entire adult life. His TikTok ads show it.
He’s not a classically trained chef – rather, a home cook whose two favorite homemade rubs are formulas he’s been using for years.
“My idea is not to necessarily have 20 flavors of rubs,” Chatham said, “but rather really nail a few and then use in different applications. On popcorn, breading chicken and fish, glazing nuts, maple syrup. Different ways to take Rub Smoke Love, but we feel like we’re just getting started.”
“We picked larger stores to try and give this a chance,” Savage said, “a better test than just Sioux City proper. So we’re in Carroll, Des Moines, and out west too because hopes are this will take off and we can go chain-wide in large stores in our multi-state area.”
“I’ve probably taken on 1/10th the business that’s out there for me,” Chatham said. “That’s part of being an entrepreneur. You’re drinking from a fire hose [and] it’s coming from 15 different directions. The difficult part is choosing the right opportunities.”
“Let’s make something great… I love the idea of bringing it home to Sioux City.”
Rub Smoke Love is available in more than 150 stores, online and through Amazon. His latest offering is out now, only online.
The hometown kid is winning again in a brand-new game.
“Oh, we’re thrilled, we’re thrilled,” Chatham said. “We have had offers that would make this a thousand stores tomorrow, but you want to build what you can control because I want to be around 10 years from now.”
Like with many start up businesses, Chatham’s wife and kids helped get the business off the ground, filling and packaging bottles of rub during the first months of operation.