March 01, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

Its a slow process. Its too early to tell how it will do, said La Grandes Sylvester Ihli of a new product he has developed.

He now is producing Red Mountain Beef Jerky, which he started marketing about 15 days ago.

Three years ago, he developed Dakota Buckaroo Marinating Sauce.

Both are manufactured in plants in Idaho, the jerky in Nampa and the marinating sauce in Meridian. Both plants are USDA-approved.

While Ihli is the creator of the products, he has little to do with their marketing, he said. There is no La Grande processing plant and he has no employees.

Sales are all up to the distributors, who send him royalties from the sales, he said.

The royalties are increasing all the time, but slowly, so I know the sales are going up. Its too early to tell how things will go.

Getting a product to sell consistently is a slow process, but I understand we still have all the original customers for the marinating sauce, Ihli said.

The sauce, which he said is good for any meat, good in soups and good for making gravy, is in some Albertsons stores, in Shop n Kart, at Flying J, the Willow Street market, DJs Market and the Exxon Station on Island Avenue. Ihli said.

Weve just started marketing the jerky after preparing for a year. I think more stores will handle both products.

He hopes to get the jerky into the same stores for starters.

He said there have been some in-store demonstrations, which help.

People dont buy very easily until they see a demonstration and can get a taste of the product, he said.

Ihli, who has lived in La Grande for 30 years, formerly operated the Appliance and Refrigerator Repair Shop at Spruce Street and Monroe Avenue.