ENID, Okla. — Jaren Browne wanted to work for himself, so he started his own business.
The first obstacle to overcome was the fact he was a full-time student at Oklahoma State University studying computer science and business administration.
His education had him going in the right direction, but he needed some help to move forward with his vision and dreams. So, he found partners to help him start Jaren’s Jerky.
The first to come on board was his father, Lester Browne.
“I think I’m what you consider, cheap labor for now,” Lester said with a chuckle.
The second partner was Autry Technology Center’s Strate Center. Strate provides entrepreneurs with business support services and resources that will accelerate the successful establishment and development of their businesses.
“We started with them in July of 2022 and we’ve done unbelievably well,” Lester said. “We have grown 160%.”
Another important partner in the building of the business is Enid Regional Development Alliance.
“We applied for a loan-type grant from ERDA and it has been instrumental in helping us grow and to succeed,” Browne said.
Recipients must be willing to partner with ERDA and Strate Center at Autry Tech through business coaching and other business assistance programs, working toward the success and growth of their business.
“My son has little patience and operates at a 22-year-old pace and I operate at a 50-year-old pace,” Lester said. “We are trying to blend and meet in the middle.”
The elder Browne said there are times his son has no choice but to wait and it is hard on him. There are U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations and strict business rules when it comes to having a food business.
“We laugh because we know where the cow ate his last bite of grass,” Lester said.
They started with commercial-grade dehydration and have already moved to an industrial scale and have applied for a wholesale license.
“This will allow us to sell our products to wholesale companies,” he said. “Right now we have to sell directly to our customer.”
He thinks one of the reasons they have done well is that lots of people who go to Autry are their customers.
Learning the system and regulations has been frustrating for them, especially his son with the patience problem.
“There are obstacles from time to time, and you simply have to work through them,” Lester said, “but he is learning and right now I’m about 70% positive we are going to make it.”
They moved their large-scale, industrial dehydrator into their space at Strate Center about a month ago, and hopefully they will get their wholesale license in the next few months.
Lester said he thinks there will be another person coming into the business. Jaren has a twin brother, Kaden, who also is in school getting a business degree. He thinks this son will be the one who is more technical and patient.
They have four different flavors of jerky currently: teriyaki, original (smokey), spicy and sweet with heat.
“We are very meticulous with our product and we should be,” Lester said.
He would recommend other people work with Strate Center. It has made all the difference to them being around people who know and promote business.
“I’m proud of my boys, and we are learning so much in this process. We will get there,” Lester said.
They will be at the Halloweenid Food Truck Festival on Saturday selling their jerky. For more information, call (580) 278-1278 or go to email@example.com