How a Passion for College Sports Inspired a Unique Business Idea

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Mascot Grills

MascotGrills is a Fredericksburg, Virginia based business specializing in creating tailgate grills in the shape of their customer’s favorite NCAA mascots. We sat down with owner Clifton Wilcox to learn more about how he started his business and his experience with CoverWallet.

Tell me how you first started your business, what inspired you to get into this specifically?

My wife is Eastern European and I was taking her to tailgates and telling her all about the different aspects of it and realized everything was branded except one thing, the grills. So I thought it would be a good idea to start branding them with team mascots.

We got started in 2014, first we were trying to figure out if it was even feasible, then we had to find an engineering company to design the grills, and then we had to find a manufacturing company to make them but eventually everything fell into place. My background is actually working in government, but I’ve owned several businesses over the years. Right now I have my own restaurant in Fairfax, Virginia, but I thought the mascot grills would be something different and interesting.

Have you always wanted to own your own business?

Yes, always, this has been a life-long goal.

And have you always been a big fan of college sports?

Yeah I actually played in college. I was a pole vaulter in track and kicker on the football team for the University of Arkansas.

How do people react when they see your grills?

Really surprised, they say things like, “Wow, this is really cool!” The grill is actually patented with removable tops, and soon we will be making tops for NASCAR where people can get the grill and then buy multiple tops for different teams/sports.

As a business owner, what’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone else thinking of starting their own business?

Don’t give up. It’s difficult for sure, for us we had a hard time finding someone to manufacture our product, no one in the U.S wanted to do it so we had to turn over every stone to make it happen. So don’t give up, you never know what may happen.

Tell me how you found CoverWallet and what the experience has been like for you?

I did a search online and found CoverWallet, along with a few other companies. I went with CoverWallet because the customer service has been really great. They helped me with anything I needed and throughout the whole process they checked in with me to make sure everything was good. I’m totally satisfied.

Be sure to check out MascotGrills on Facebook