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Arbo's Cheese Dip with Andrew Arbogast feature #110 of Together Talks

"Together Talks" feature #110: Arbo's Cheese Dip presented by KLS, freight company

Some Background on Arbo's Cheese Dip

Today's edition of "Together Talks" campaign, KLS had the chance to interview Arbo's Cheese Dip and Andrew Arbogast, Founder. The Founder, Andrew Arbogast (aka Commander-in-Cheese) fought for his country as an Apache pilot to preserve the American way of life. While mission planning in the middle east, CPT Arbogast would break bread with his pilots and soldiers before mission - a small offering to improve the morale of being in danger and away from home. This small offering included specialty cheeses, meats and crackers that his family would ship to him. Andrew's passion for cheese took on a new meaning when he decided to leave the Army to manufacture and distribute his father's 30-year old, locally famous cheese dip recipe for the world to try. Since 2021, Andrew's 'mission success' attitude prevailed after Veteran-Owned, Arbo's Cheese Dip, grew from one grocery store to hundreds across 7 states with major retailers such as Kroger, Central Market and more!


Life change, family recipe

Andrew felt that he was sick of being put into a box, he badly wanted to control his destiny. He felt it was his priority to reach his full potential as a human, He couldn't accept not living out his dream. He didn't know why suddenly he felt so strongly about this, but he wanted to prove something not only to others but himself. Andrew shared he never succeeded with academics, usually being a middle of the road or below average student. But he felt a calling that if he had an opportunity to do something for himself he would move mountains to create opportunities for others stuck in the same situation. While leaving his job to start his company was a huge risk, in his mind the biggest risk was not taking this chance and betting on himself. He had found the way he wanted to live and trying to constantly better himself. In 2020 he made the plunge and bet on himself.


That inner turmoil took place in November 2020, and on 12/31/2020 he filled the LLC to create his company. Andrew opened up that he believed Covid fast-tracked this life change. Prior to leaving his corporate job he was in the military from 2007-2017 as an Apache Helicopter Pilot, joking he didn't belong in a cubicle. He always had a passion for food and enjoyed cooking at a young age. His Father not only taught him how to cook but had a locally recognized cheese dip. With his Father's permission Andrew wanted to bring that product to market. He spent the next 4.5 months researching everything he could in terms of manufacturing small batch and creating a container that is retail presentable. May 14th, 2021 he sold his first jar. After five short months, Andrew's level of determination made him believe he was ready for the next phase of his company, retail.

Retail first

Most CPG companies don't start right into retail, however Andrew had a simple message, "Going back to my first business plan and mission statement the expectations were always large, 'to make my Dad's cheese dip accessible nationwide'. Without that goal I think I would have quit along the way, but that is why I pushed to go right into retail. His first weekend of selling they sold out. He credited the grassroots organic growing due to awareness the community built about the brand.


One of the most important things Andrew learned was "You have to go through it to learn it".


An example of this is the iterations of the product. He believes he has gone through hundreds trying to replicate as close as possible to what he grew up with his father making. While the product is nearly impossible to perfectly resemble he said it is similar. The same flavor brings back the memory even if it is a little thinner, packs a little more heat. He would guess it is about 75% in closeness. As he explained, "To compare something you can make at home in minutes off the back of an index card to something that needs to last 120 days, it can't ever be the exact same."


Those first five months were very calculated by Andrew. He didn't want to jump the gun and bring something to market that wasn't sustainable. Instead he took the necessary time to have the product display ready. He told us he thought the answer to his prayers would be federal contracts, but to this day he has yet to land one. "It is funny how the tasks and goals you set change, you have to follow where the opportunities are. That is how retail came to fruition for me.", Andrew shared. The company also didn't have any eCom business for the first 2.5 years. But Andrew shared it took getting one big retailer to change everything. Being able to brand and market saying "we are featured in X", changes the perception he believes. For his company it was getting into Kroger. That was their first big move, but he credits a possibly even more important was a deal struck with Central Market just prior.

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Our story

We asked what makes their cheese dip so good (bias aside, the man did literally grow up on it!), he said over 90% of people who taste it tell him it is the best cheese dip they ever had or it taste just like a queso blanco you'd get at an authentic Mexican restaurant. He credits their exceptional flavor and seasonings while tying in their slogan, "hot or cold always goes back to bold". Both temperatures present a different flavor profile, but both are an option which is very unique for this space.


Andrew believes their greatest strength is their story. Having a great product is absolutely necessary, but with how much competition there is you have to reach consumers with the brand. One way to do that is by having a story that resonates with consumers. He believes he fell into something good based on his Dad's dip, but he also can speak about it in a way no one else can. He hopes to continue to make waves and end up being disruptive in the space which again will allow him to alter his tasks and goals.

 

He credited the entire journey of being filled with both small and large, very large wins. In the end he believes the all add up to reach the goal of going national. The Kroger announcement was the biggest validation at the time. He shared he felt they were on the brink of possibly shutting down in 2023 and then within a 30-45 day period they got news of the new partnership. Looking back he often reflects on the confirmation sustained by awards the company has received. The more recognition they receive the more opportunities that will be awarded he believes, as evidence by being only 1 of 2 Veteran-Owned Businesses to be featured at The Country Music Awards.


Self journey

In starting this journey he said he inadvertently almost never got off the ground because he chose to believe what one individual was telling him. Instead of believing in himself he was trusting this other voice. Then another voice entered the situation and frankly told him, "If you don't do this you're an idiot (after taking a blind taste test). You're the right person, people genuinely like you, that sells, and you have a great product on top of it." That push was what Andrew needed to pursue his passion of creating something for himself sharing sometimes you just have to figure it out.


He has plenty to be grateful, but outside of the success of the company he is more appreciative of the self-growth he has encountered. Getting to know himself through this 3+ year process has been enlightening. He touched on the relationships he has made and will continue to make because of starting this CPG company. Andrew continued, "Cheese dip was the surface, but it has become so much more than that." The entrepreneurial journey has brought his true identity to the surface and allowed him to chase that defining potential.


In understanding the rollercoaster of running a business Andrew reflected on the moment he felt he could breathe, but ultimately turned rather quickly, Kroger. "We got the verbal commitment from Kroger, then the supplier setup. We were excited but nervous. Then we did the silliest thing, we kicked back for a long time, too long. We thought because we got there everything would be smooth." Andrew mentioned that a learning curve was due to understand where the gaps where. Learning how to sustain the model was just as important as introducing the model. That initial deal cut revenue by 60% he shared. But they came out of it better and more prepared for the next partnership. He reveled at another partnership that followed with Publix, "I remember seeing the product on a shelf in Virginia (a place he had never been). It was so perfectly placed and stocked, I was wowed. We followed that up with Schnucks and then Harris Teeter."


The momentum of Arbo's Cheese Dip is just getting started and they are spearheaded by the constant learning and evolution of the Founder, Andrew. He plans to continue increasing marketing and advertising for 2024 to support the 20+ states they are already available in. He shared, "It is easy to get on the shelf (not really), but it was much more difficult to stay on the shelf." Making sure all that work doesn't go for nothing if they can't stay on the shelf and sell while on the shelf is of the utmost importance to him and the brand. They hope to accomplish that buy continuing to build their awareness this year, getting the word out and focusing on velocity to accentuate further growth.


Find Arbo's Cheese Dip at a store near you by visiting their store locator here. They can be found at the following:

Walmart

Schnucks

Harris Teeter

Central Market

Kroger

Publix


Interested in being featured with "Together Talks"?
KLS is booking our upcoming schedule now!
Contact us as we would love to learn your story and share it amongst our audience.
Weekly we provide 2 companies our platform to expand their reach courtesy of our campaign. Let's collaborate!!!
In Closing

KLS wants to thank Andrew Arbogast, Founder of Arbo's Cheese Dip for today's "Together Talks" feature. Follow along for their journey with their social handles below!


Together Talks with Arbo's Cheese Dip feature #110 - presented by KLS, Klimson Logistics Solutions, freight company

Klimson Logistics Solutions - Together Talks with Arbo's Cheese Dip feature #110

*Klimson Logistics Solutions is an Industry Leading Customer Service 3PL. Our focus and commitment to our clients has us striving to be the BEST customer service 3PL for LTL, FTL, Reefer, and Drayage in the country. KLS, freight company, is a 3PL providing nationwide logistics solutions. KLS shipping services include: LTL freight, FTL freight, Reefer LTL freight, Reefer FTL freight, and Drayage. Klimson Logistics Solutions thanks you for viewing our marketing campaign, "Together Talks". If you have any interest in being featured or questions regarding your freight operations please contact us today!


Why KLS?

Our precise and reliable effort.

We handle every shipment with the exact same process. It does not matter if you move one shipment a year or ten per day, you will receive the same level of customer service from us. When we started this company, we had one goal in mind, treat every shipment like it was our own. With our vast knowledge of the industry, we understood what a customer would want from a communication standpoint. We applied that process to be the standard here at KLS. Our reliability and being able to depend on our consistency is why we have such long-standing relationships with our clients.


Our Process?

Every shipment in our industry starts with a quote. We are firm believers that time is money, thus we strive to have quotes back in a 5-10 minute reply time for LTL and FTL, any FCL quotes are at the mercy of the carriers getting back to us. For LTL we have the flexibility to quote both off of NMFC and also Density depending on the carrier. Utilizing our services, you’re allowing us to use our expertise to class your freight accordingly to ensure we are providing the best rate we possibly can.

Once a quote has been submitted and a client chooses to proceed with KLS handling the arrangement of the shipment our full process begins. We create the BOL that will be used for the shipment. If it is a new location for our system, we will obtain all the important/special details (reference numbers, contact details, shipping hours, closed for lunch, dock/doors, etc.). We meticulously build every detail into our software for all future shipments involving that location. After we have both locations built and necessary reference numbers have been applied we will tender the shipment to the carrier. We use this method because it provides us a real time pickup number from the carrier to obtain updates prior to pickup. Our staff will either email the BOL directly to you or to the shipper (at your request) the minute after the tender has been accepted by the carrier. LTL carriers require a 2 hour window prior to close time in order to schedule it for a same-day pickup attempt.

The following morning you’ll receive an email from us. It will either provide the reason the pickup was missed (driver’s trailer filled up, driver missed the close time, truck broke down, shipper said no freight, etc.) or if the pickup was successful you will receive the PRO (tracking) number from us, along with the eta for delivery. Our staff will track it throughout the duration of transit and advise if anything happens that will alter the estimated delivery date. The day the shipment delivers we will email you with confirmation and the POD (Proof of Delivery), should you require it.

Your shipment has been quoted, scheduled, picked up, and delivered. The next step is waiting for the carrier to invoice us and make sure the rate matches up. If it does, we close out the invoice from the carrier in our system and automatically your invoice is created and sent to the requested party at your company. In the event the carrier has an additional charge on their invoice “Variance”, we will never send you an invoice with an additional charge without first identifying you of the charge.

Let us repeat, NEVER WILL WE JUST BILL OUT AN EXTRA CHARGE WITHOUT YOU BEING NOTIFIED.

You are our customer, we represent you. Should the carrier provide an extra charge on an invoice, “Lift gate, additional weight, reclass, detention, etc.) We notify you of the charge via email first. Second, within that email we identify what is required should you choose to dispute the charge. Again our goal is to honor your request, if you want to dispute, we will dispute. During a dispute we will provide you updates every step along the way. Once a dispute is closed out, whether it is approved or rejected, then we will invoice you as the invoice has been resolved.

For reference, our company only had 6.2% of all shipments go to dispute in 2022 and we successfully won 91% of those disputes on behalf of our customers.

This is our process for every single shipment you move with us. We don’t cut corners, we don’t hide from difficult situations. We believe in being available, honest, and transparent. We don’t ever want to tell you that a shipment is lost, damaged, misrouted, but it is our duty to notify you the second we find out something has gone wrong. We hate to present bad news, but it is part of the job. What you can guarantee is that we will work a shipment all the way through and turn over every stone until we get a resolution for our clients.


Services offered?

Our core business is LTL and FTL. Within these options we have options for both dry and refrigerated/frozen. We also offer FCL/Drayage options. Our company as a 3PL has nationwide options and services clients across the US.


Let’s breakdown our services more in-depth

LTL: Standard and Guaranteed CFS (Imports & Exports) Tradeshows Hazmat Anything that is on a pallet can be moved LTL. Typically LTL is up to 10 pallets, but the sweet spot for a carrier is 6-8 pallets at most for an individual shipment. LTL quotes are good between 5-30 days depending on the carrier. LTL can be quoted either via NMFC or density to determine the class (we do this for you).

Volume: Anything over 10-12’ of space in the truck is the technical rule for a volume shipment. When we run a quote for you we will determine if it qualifies for volume and provide you a rate if available. Volume moves allow you to get a reduced rate for larger shipments. The caveat to volume shipments it the quotes are only valid for 3-7 days and they move on capacity between terminals. If a terminal is backed up they will move their LTL freight first before the volume freight, which can lead to longer transit times for volume moves.

FTL/Dedicated/Expedited: 53’ Dry and Reefer 26’ Box trucks with lift gate Sprinter Van The main difference for FTL vs LTL is space and transit time. For standard pallets you can fit either 26 or 30 pallets in a 53’ dry van. The other main difference is transit time, for FTL each day counts in the transit time, whereas LTL does not count the day of pickup, weekends, or holidays in their transit time.

Reefer/Frozen: LTL and FTL We specialize working in the CPG space with food manufacturers. We regularly deliver to the following locations: Kehe UNFI Core Mark DPI Wegmans Cugini H.T. Hackney Netrition HEB ALDI Chambers and Owens EBY Brown Nassau Candy Harris Teeter Wakefern NU INC Long Distribution

What makes KLS different?

There are thousands of freight brokers and 3PL in our industry. Barrier to entry is rather easy and agents or owners will often hire sales people without any intention of properly training them. It results in high turnover for many freight companies and a forgettable experience for the client. We choose to operate differently through our consistency. We truly care about doing right by our clients and prospects too. While we would love to help provide our services to every company we speak with, that just isn’t realistic. We won’t always be the right fit for every company that moves freight and that is ok. Our authenticity as a shipping company sets us apart from the competition and that is backed up by our testimonials. We also run a marketing campaign bi-weekly called “Together Talks”. We interview, highlight, and promote two businesses every week. Our goal is to grow our network, make new connections, and learn something new with each collaboration. Check it out on our website and if you’re interested in being featured reach out.

Our company also runs a year long charity promotion. Book your first shipment through KLS and we donate to the charity of your choice in your name. Our way of thanking you for giving us an opportunity to show you the KLS way and what makes us one of a kind. This entire package is what we offer to every prospect and every client. Our goal is to help provide answers that customers may have when it comes to shipping. We want to always be available as a resource and will always offer a lending hand whenever we can.

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