Yesterday’s Annual Ribfest and Chili Cookoff supporting JDRF was a success for the 10th year in a row.  But this year, a new “spice” was added to the mix.  We all knew fall was the season for chili, chili contests and chili festivals; but who knew fall was the season for Ebola too? That's right your favorite seasonal food is now paired with a deadly foreign-born disease!

                                                                    - The Enterprise Millstadt, Illinois October 12, 2014

That was the first and last bit of press before my custom chili-making idea made an early exit from the competition.  All I want to do was come up with something different; something convenient.  Year after year, I heard people complain that this chili “had too many beans,” or that one “wasn’t meaty-enough.”  They’d walk by with chili in one hand and a beer in the other, all the while balancing their smartphones . . .and that’s when it hit me.  Someone needed to make customizing chili E-asy.

Just then I had the idea that people could order a bowl of chili via email, Twitter or any electronic device.   That’s it . . . introduce E-Bowla -Chili!

Never did I think the Ebola craze would break out in The States.  I thought it would stay in Africa - like apartheid and safari vehicles. I was immediately asked to leave the competition and escorted out by men in Hazmat suits.  After extensive testing and a week of quarantine, I was released.  And with the release, I was able to gain some perspective.

In order to differentiate from my custom chili that you can order online from the deadly bacteria wreaking havoc across the globe - I needed a gimmick.  Something that showed the name, rather than relying on the explanation.

I tried the old fashioned sandwich board but it was too heavy to show anyone outside the immediate 100 feet.  Besides, it left me with splinters.

Next came the coupons; but yelling "Who wants E-Bowla Chili?" Left me with a handful of paper and people crossing the street to avoid me. I needed to think more permanently.

After that, was the arm-to-arm tattoo but it got to cold to advertise in a tank top and people wondered why I was holding my arms out all the time.

Finally, I thought “If I’m customizing chili, why not go to the experts in customizing t-shirts?” Immediately I found Whooptee.com - the Kings of Customization!  Within 10 minutes I found a shirt, added my logo, got a quick quote and ordered my shirts.  Now I'm selling more E-Bowla shirts than chili and I have more friends than ever.

Thank you Whooptee for making my dream a reality.                            

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