Jim & Mary Yearsley
Cow Camp Catering
Secret to Success:
“Jim is a real cowboy with sheer grit that offers a uniquely genuine service which has made Cow Camp Catering a great success,” said Alan Christensen, Director of the Ephraim Small Business Development Center (SBDC). “He enjoys serving others and has a knack for dutch oven cooking.”
After spending most of his adult life as a cowboy and cattle breeder, Jim Yearsley retired and started Cow Camp Catering to pursue his life long dream. “We started Cow Camp Catering with an outdoor, western, down-to-earth way of life,” said Yearsley. “I’ve been on the trail. I’ve worked in cow-camps. That’s me.” Established in 2002 by Jim and Mary Yearsley, Cow Camp Catering provides authentic and gourmet dutch oven prepared meals, savory sides and sumptuous deserts for catered events. Jim Yearsley’s specialties include cheesy-bacon dutch oven potatoes, chicken cordon bleu, cross rib cut roast beef and “Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake”—an irresistible dessert made from chocolate, pecans, caramel and an Oreo crust. The company caters for a variety of events including family reunions, corporate functions, wedding dinners and outdoor events throughout Utah or wherever they are requested.
Inspired to make his dream become a reality, Yearsley met with Christensen at the SBDC in 2002 for some initial startup assistance. Over the course of the next several months, the SBDC helped Yearsley file paperwork with the state of Utah, write a business plan, navigate branding matters and develop a logo.
As the company grew, Yearsley participated in SBDC trainings including a QuickBooks course and the “7 Habits for Small Business Managers,” a Franklin Covey managerial program.
“The SBDC helped us at each stage of growth for the business. For example, after being in business for a few years, we expanded by selling our special seasoning,” said Yearsley. “The SBDC helped us understand packaging and labeling requirements and helped us determine distribution channels. I refer a lot of people to the SBDC—to get the help they need to think through the important parts of starting a business. It makes a difference.”
In recognition for 10 years of success and the Yearsley’s steadfast tenacity to grow the business, the SBDC has selected Cow Camp Catering to receive a small business recognition nomination. “Food service is a very difficult industry in which to succeed, and in spite of having little to no experience in the industry when they started, the Yearsley’s have sustained a successful business,” said Christensen.Cow Camp Catering has experienced an increased demand for services in recent years—so much so that some jobs are being booked as much as two years in advance. Cow Camp has catered for the Governor of the State of Utah, large regional businesses, and has most recently secured a job to serve 1,000 people—a significant charge for a small rural food business that relies on dutch ovens to prepare 90% of the food.