AUBURN — Turns out Crabbies were a nice starter course.

Scott and Jon Demers founded Demers Foods two years ago with their grandmother’s recipe for cheesy crabmeat on English muffins. Their company saw $20,000 in sales in 2012.

This month, under the new brand Cheat!ng Gourmet, the brothers hit Costco and BJ’s Wholesale clubs with Lobster Crostini, a cheddar cheese and Maine lobster spread on toasted baguettes.

They anticipate ending 2014 with more than $1 million in sales.

“The goal is to make Cheat!ng Gourmet the leader in the high-end seafood appetizer,” Scott Demers, 31, said. “That’s where our ship is pointed towards.”

Demers Foods opened an office, or world headquarters as Jon, 26, puts it, at 74 Main St. this summer, above Gritty’s. Scott, a mortgage lender, handles sales. Jon, a Lewiston firefighter, handles the books.

The company is close to hiring its first employee.

“It started with a cute idea, Nana’s recipe,” Scott said. “We met some of the right people. Now it’s a challenge to grow it.”

When Crabbies initially launched, bags could be found in hundreds of grocery store freezers. The brothers pulled them last year — they weren’t high-end enough for long-term plans, Scott said — and they went back to the kitchen.

“We knew we wanted to have a lobster flavor, a shrimp, a crab,” Jon said. “A lot of trial and error. Different breads. We thought a lot about manufacturing this time around.”

Lobster Crostini and Shrimp Crostini debuted at Sam’s Club last fall for a holiday-season run. Scott flew down to Virginia earlier this year to pitch Costco on this holiday season. They got word a few months later.

“When Costco says they’re interested in carrying you, you have to kind of pinch yourself,” Scott said. “It’s the big leagues of selling appetizers, that’s for sure.”

Lobster Crostini 30-packs retailing for $16.99 are in the chain’s Northeast and Southwest stores. Twenty-packs are in a majority of BJ’s clubs, retailing for $11.99.

The heat-and-eat frozen appetizers, at 50 calories apiece, are made in Rhode Island with Maine lobster, cheddar cheese and other spices.

“It’s definitely got a lobster flavor, it’s got a rich cheesy flavor as well, they work in good harmony,” Scott said.

Cheat!ing Gourmet also has blue crab spread, Maine lobster spread and Crab Crostinis developed and ready to hit the market.

Meanwhile, the brothers are at work on another brand under the Demers Foods umbrella. 

“We’ve got an idea that’s brand new to the world, we think,” Jon said.

They have a prototype. It’s edible and otherwise top secret.

It’s coming, they hope, to grocery stores and retailers next spring.

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