My name is Jim Mullen. On October 16th, 1996, my life changed in a major way. I was a Chicago police officer in the Rogers Park neighborhood and one night, I was shot in the cheek and spine while on duty. I was instantly paralyzed and dependent on a respirator to breath. In that moment my life changed forever. I was in the ICU at Northwestern Memorial Hospital for 2 months, and spent 4 months at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago before returning home and bound to a wheelchair. My new reality inspired a passion in me for proving to everyone that life is what you make out of it. Ever since that day, I’ve remembered that life is precious and dreams are worth chasing.
I was having a medical scan of my heart one day at Northwestern Hospital, what I refer to as one of my regular “tune-ups,” when the lady doing the scan told me about her barbecue sauce company. Growing up, my mother, Audre’s, apple sauce was a hit with everyone. And because of her, I know what good, home cooked food tastes like. She was a self-taught chef, and we used to tease her about how her apple sauce was so good that she should bottle it. Even when I was just a kid, I used to joke around and say, “It’s like apple pie without the crust!”
Later that evening when I came home after my medical scan, I decided I would follow my dream and start my own food company. After all, my mother made the best Apple Sauce in the world, and I wanted to share my mom’s apple sauce with the world by getting it on the shelf of the grocery store, HAPPY FOODS, where she use to take me when I was little. All I have wanted to do is to make her happy, and this is my way of sharing a piece of her with others. When life gives you apples, make Apple Sauce.
HISTORY OF MULLEN’S APPLE SAUCE
In 2007 I got a small batch of my mother’s special blend of apples & spices made and begged to get her apple sauce on the shelf at Happy Foods, the store where my mom shopped with me when I was little. It took a little convincing but they finally put some on the shelves. My mom was happily surprised when I got to show her the sauce all bottled up. More good news followed when people started buying it, too. Throughout this process I was madly giving it away to family and friends as gifts. Turns out, everybody LOVED IT and was telling me to just go for it and make it an official business. Mullen Foods was born.