Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bringing Dreams to Fruition

Hoping to own a clothing boutique in the near future I find myself privileged to have such inspiration within family. My cousin Chris Julian owner of Fruition and Monogram Las Vegas as well as co-owner of Stussy and UNDFTD Las Vegas which started from the ground up and continue to soar amongst his competitors. Chris attended UNLV and graduated a business major. At the age of 22 years old he decided to take what he has a passion for and turn it into a lifestyle. Starting off with just a vision opening Fruition at the age of 23 years old he never thought that would lead him to the opportunity’s that he’s had and will have in the future.  Fruition is a clothing boutique in Vegas that offers vintage urban sheik such as vintage Nike, Polo, and Stussy to a higher end Louis Vuitton, MCM, and Fendi. Following that movement he was then offered a co –owner position of UNDFTD and Stussy Las Vegas. 
His most recent projects B.A.R. (Born and Raised) a restaurant lounge and bar area overlooking the Vegas strip and Monogram a clothing boutique placed in the new Vegas Cosmopolitan makes a statement that he has taken Vegas by storm and I’m sure will take his brand outside Vegas in the near future. He is now in the process of helping star basketball player Lebron James open a store in Florida and working on projects with hip hop artist Kanye West.
Chris is my mentor and has helped me with numerous internships so hopefully one day I can bring my dreams into reality. 
Submitted by: Roberto Julian

“The American Dream”

            The wind has a way of defining Annapolis as a city for sailing. In June, this is a refreshing reminder, but in January, when locals cut through the wind like knives through ice, that air can feel a bit uncomfortable. So when a lawyer is finished with his trial and he walks back to his office on West Street, he passes by an almost invisible coffee shop, whose lingering scent can allure anyone in search of a warm place to stay. Inside Café Ole, one can greet the owner, a cheerful woman named Claudia Hassan: an entrepreneur whose ethics were never learned in a classroom, but always perfected in her business.
            Upon initial entry her voice can be heard toward the direction of the door to greet her most recent arrival, but her shocking blue eyes will most likely be fixed on the soul of one of her regulars. She sparkles behind her cash register, including everyone in her conversation through her contagious laugh. If enough time is spent there, a customer can learn about her history before she offers another refill of a sixteen-ounce drink. Her Brazilian accent complements her story well. When it’s combined with her jovial tone her happiness seems immeasurable.
            When she first moved to the United States, Café Ole was known as The Pony Espresso. Claudia was a barista there for eight years working hard to support herself and her family. “Everyone here knows everything about everyone. They always ask me about my boys, my house and my family in Brazil,” she told me on the first day I worked for her, “and soon they’ll know everything about you!” Her laughter turns into ecstasy when two elementary-aged boys skip into the store squealing for their mother’s attention. She showers them with love as they play with the register, count money and sip chocolate milk like they own the place (because of their ancestral right, they do). “Don’t forget to say hello to everyone who walks in the door,” she teaches the boys, “also say thank you very much for coming Miss Nancy, because we want her to come back! We love her!”
Over half of her customers are regulars, which is typical of businesses downtown. When regulars bring co-workers or a passerby stumbles upon the open doorway, they seem to make a connection with the 10-foot wide building. The familiar faces become a family, but even the out-of-towner can feel at home at either a barstool by the window or a table between the door and the register. Claudia’s shop is an oasis for her customers, whose spare time she values for it is spent drinking her coffee.  Her presence distracts busy Annapolitans from the stressors of daily life, providing them with service so pure it doesn’t feel like service. It’s a small abode, humble at its’ worst, that generates gallons of coffee per day, filling West Street’s atmosphere with the seductive smell of a fresh brew.
A Brazilian smile, Seattle’s Best coffee and an American currency keep her business running. For nine hours of the day, every day (apart from weekends, which are reserved for her heirs), Claudia is like the best friend you never had. She intently listens to her customers, always giving advice and receiving favors in return. One of the first things she taught me upon my employment was not simply serve coffee, but to build a relationship. It’s a beautiful thing to see your customers as friends. She understands the exchange of service, not simply of money, and that is what makes Claudia Hassan a notable entrepreneur.
Submitted by: Sigrun Kalatschan

Ron Popeil

For the past 40 years, Ron Popeil has generated over $2 billion in sales with his unique and creative products. He was even voted as one of the 25 people who have changed the way we eat, drink and think about food by Self Magazine readers. One of his most successful inventions, The Showtime Rotisserie, at one point was selling by the thousands each week. Yet life wasn’t always this easy for Popeil, he would have to go through a lot of heartache and turmoil to get to the top. From a rocky childhood, to finding his true calling, to close financial ruin of his company, Ron Popeil would find his way through it all and come out on top.
  Ron Popeil was born on May 3, 1935. He and his brother, who was just 17 months older, were constantly moving from foster home to foster home in upstate New York. His parents were divorced and rarely spent time with them. Even at Christmas, when all of the parents came to pick up their children from the foster home, Ron’s parents never came. By the age of seven, Ron’s grandparents took Ron and his brother to live with their aunt in Florida for about two and a half years. When he was 10, his grandparents moved to Chicago and he and his brother went with them. By the age of sixteen, Popeil was out on his own.
  His father, Samuel Popeil, was also an inventor. He sold his inventions to different department stores and chains throughout the U.S. When Ron moved out on his own, he went to go work with his dad. He showed the different products at the store and convinced them that consumers would by the products in large quantities. Due to the significant sales of the products, stores would buy the products has fast as they could. However, the turning point in Popeil’s life didn’t come until a causal walk down Chicago’s Maxwell Street.
  During that walk down Maxwell Street in Chicago, it came to him. He saw all of the people selling their products on the street and all of the money they were making. So he thought he could do what they can, but he could probably do it better. So he bought some kitchen products from his dad’s factory and went down to Maxwell Street to sell them. It was a success; he was putting more money into his pockets than ever before and that’s when he knew what his true calling was.
  In the mid 1950’s television was on the rise and Ron discovered he could produce a 60-second commercial for $500 and he did. Popeil’s first TV product was the Ronco Spray Gun, a gun shaped hose nozzle that held different tablets of soap, wax, weed killer, fertilizer, and insecticide. By the 1960’s, Ron was selling most of his products on television, his father and he became very wealthy. In 1964, Ronco pulled in $200,000 in sales and by 1968, the company was raking in $8.8 million.
  In the 1980’s Ronco faced financial problems. A Chicago bank went under and Ronco’s bank didn’t want to follow suit. So, the bank called in all the company’s I.O.Us. Ronco couldn’t cover them because of the certain time the bank wanted their money. So, the bank took over the company’s assets and decided to auction them off. When the bank was ready to auction off the assets, Ron offered the bank $2 million to buy it back. The bank denied his offer and went on with the auction. When the bid only came up to $1.2 million, the bank asked if Ron’s offer still stood. Keeping his word, Ron bought his company back and got it back on track.
  These days, Ron is still inventing and keeping busy, but he always finds time for his favorite hobby, fishing. Ron always takes out one of his two boats and uses one of his inventions, The Pocket Fisherman, to help catch his dinner. Ron Popeil is a successful entrepreneur for many reasons. First, he has made a significant amount of money and he and his family are financially set for life. Second, he has brought the consumers useful and high quality products that have made their lives easier. Third, he followed his dreams and didn’t let anyone tell him otherwise, and has made a successful career of what he loves to do.
Submitted by: Alex Wright 

 "About Us." Web. 29 Mar. 2011. <>.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tyler Balliet - Second Glass

Tyler Balliet (founder & president of Second Glass) felt the marketing of wine was inefficient to his generation. Thus, through his love for wine, Second Glass was created. Second Glass is mainly a source for wine information. It drops knowledge through weekly e-mails informing everyone about wines and encouraging them to enjoy more. It enriches knowledge of the readers of the different regions, styles, and techniques in a simple, yet slightly humorous, way.
            Tyler discovered wine at college in the Pacific Northwest. He studied the culture surrounding wine while living in France. From there, he bettered his skills at a wine shop in Boston. Second Glass was born out of Tyler’s desire to create a fun, entertaining atmosphere when learning about wine. Second Glass started as an unpretentious wine print magazine, and then grew into an event company that ran on new media and technology. Tyler was instrumental in the use and development of new technologies to create and distribute wine information. He created a mobile application which is used at Wine Riots (a series of events that connects wine distributers to young consumers) and third party events and utilizes new social media techniques to make wine information more easy to obtain and more useful to the average consumer. Tyler became profiled as one of 2010’s most exciting young entrepreneurs in INC Magazine’s 30 Under 30 and crowned “prince of Boston’s wine revolution” by Stuff Magazine.
Submitted by: Ryan William Lynch - 29

Monday, March 28, 2011

Harold Butler, Entrepreneur, founder of Denny’s Restaurant

Entrepreneurs are an integral part of my family history. Both my grandfathers were life-long entrepreneurs, but family member about who I am reporting is a cousin on my father’s side. My father had a cousin named Harold Butler, whom I have met.  Harold’s mother and my paternal grandmother were sisters, so some of this report is anecdotal.
Harold Butler (1921 to 11 July 1998), born and raised in Buffalo, New York, was one of many children. Personal anecdote reports that Harold’s father disappeared when Harold was in his youth. The family reportedly counted buttons for money. Harold also sold donuts, which allowed him to purchase a row boat. He used this row boat, goes the family lore, to take paying customers out on Lake Erie for short rides. My mother was a little fuzzy about the donut connection, but apparently he eventually owned a donut shop in Buffalo. He decided he didn’t want to live the rest of his life in Buffalo, however, so he moved to California, which is where he started a donut shop he called “Danny’s Donuts”. (Schwartz, 2011)
In 1953, Harold founded the first of his donut shops, which he called “Danny’s Donuts”. The Denny’s corporate site reports that he used the name “Danny” because he felt that would have a large appeal to the general public. (Denny's Restaurant, 2011)  I am guessing he used the name “Danny” because “Father Knows Best” was a popular TV show and Danny Thomas was the male lead of the show.  According to Denny’s corporate site, it only took Harold a year to expand his donut shops and he decided to add sandwiches and other entrees to his menu (Denny's Restaurant, 2011), again, I suppose, to increase the appeal of his shops to the general public, and this served to differentiate him from McDonald’s, which was a healthy and growing franchise, even then. By 1959, Danny’s Donuts had been renamed as “Denny’s Restaurants” and had become a 20 restaurant chain (Denny's Restaurant, 2011)
The differentiation from McDonald’s while still using the franchise model set up by Rae Croc was a critical factor in Denny’s Restaurant growth. Harold’s concept for Denny’s was to be a restaurant that offered decent food for low prices, in high volume with uniform menus and fast service. The difference from the diner model would then be the uniformity of the service and menu, giving people continuity wherever they went, as long as there was a Denny’s available. In fact, Denny’s occupies a unique niche, as it is a hybrid between a donut shop, a franchise and a diner. This is the crux of Harold Butler’s success in building this particular business. He did go on to build some other businesses, most of which were restaurant chains. When one chain's fortunes failed or declined, Butler went on to another one.
"I love to feed people," is the way he once explained his dedication.” (Oliver, 1998)
Submitted by: Karen Schwartz-Mcgady
Denny's Restaurant. (2011, March 19). Denny's Restaurants History. Retrieved March 19, 2011, from Denny's Restaurants:
Oliver, M. (1998, July 11). LA Times|Article Collections|Obituaries. Retrieved March 21, 2011, from LA Times Archives:
Schwartz, E. B. (2011, March 19). (K. Schwartz-McGady, Interviewer)

  Denny’s Timeline (Denny's Restaurant, 2011)2011
Harold Butler founds the first Denny’s in Lakewood, California, under the name Danny’s Donuts.
Butler opens additional Danny’s Donut shops and expands the menu to include sandwiches and other entrees.
Now a 20-restaurant chain, Danny’s Donuts name is changed to Denny’s.
Denny’s makes its initial public offering on the American and Pacific Coast Stock Exchanges.
Denny’s introduces the Grand Slam Breakfast in Atlanta as a nod to Hank Aaron. It went on to become Denny’s most famous, and still-popular, breakfast.
Denny’s continues to grow, now with over 1,000 restaurants across the country.
Denny’s headquarters moves from Irvine, California, to Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Denny’s becomes the largest corporate sponsor of the national charity Save the Children.
Denny’s common stock is relisted on The NASDAQ Stock Market under a “DENN” ticker symbol as a result of the company’s sustained sales growth and continued improvements to its restaurant operations.
Denny’s ends the year with system wide sales of $2.4B and $1.72M average unit sales for company-operated restaurants.
Carolinas Minority Supplier Development Council named Denny's Corporation of the Year in Supplier Diversity
Denny’s parent company, Advantica Restaurant Group, Inc., is renamed Denny’s Corporation to reflect the one brand focus.
Black Enterprise magazine ranks Denny’s at the top of its list of “Best 40 Companies for Diversity” in July 2006.
Denny’s remains the largest family-service restaurant in America, with 21,000 employees and 1,546 restaurants.
(Denny's Restaurant, 2011)

Kevin Plank is a Very New Giant in a Sports Clothes Business

One of the best examples of the modern and local entrepreneur is Kevin Plank.
Kevin Plank, is the founder and chief executive of Baltimore-based Under Armour, the highly successful sports apparel company. He is talented entrepreneur who turned Under Armour from cash-starved brand into a legitimate Nike and Reebok opponent.
 Frustrated by his sweat-soaked cotton T-shirt’s, he started look for a material that would wick the sweat from his body and provide muscles support. (Heath, 2010)
Plank recalls sitting in his dorm room during his senior year at Maryland and drawing the first Under Armour shirt. “I thought, ‘I figured it out, I am going to make a T-shirt,’ ” Plank says. He bought fabric that he hoped could combine the snug fit of a “Hanes cotton T-shirt” and the lightness and fast-drying texture of synthetic, stretchy fabrics used in women’s lingerie. He found a tailor outside College Park and paid him “$480” to sew seven prototypes. Plank then had football teammates and athletes from other Maryland teams test them.
Plank says he built his company using the same principles he learned during his years on the football field. (Salter, 2005)
By the end of 1996, Plank says Under Armour had generated $17,000 in revenue purely by word of mouth. The next year he had $100,000 in orders to fill and found a factory in Ohio to make the shirts. He had gone through the $17,000 from the rose business in college and run up $40,000 in debt across five credit cards.
The company first made a profit in 1998, but a pivotal moment came in 1999 with the release of Oliver Stone’s football movie Any Given Sunday, in which actor Jamie Foxx wore an Under Armour jockstrap in a locker room scene. After hearing about the movie through a Fork Union teammate, Plank sent samples of his products to the costume designer and convinced Stone’s assistant to pay for the Under Armour goods.
With the Stone movie about to be released, Plank decided that Under Armour had to tell its “story.” The company had only $25,000 to spend, and Plank put it all on an ad in ESPN The Magazine. He calls the move a turning point. “We generated close to $750,000 in sales from the advertisement,” he says. Three years after starting the company, Plank put himself on the payroll. (Dessauer, 2009)

Submitted by: Olga Samokhvalova

1. Dessauer, C. (2009, march-april). Team Player. Retrieved 03 24, 2011, from
2. Heath, T. (2010, January 24). Taking on the giants: How Under Armour founder Kevin Plank is going head-to-head with the industry's biggest players. Washington Post Staff Writer .
3. Salter, C. (2005, August 1). fast company. Retrieved March 23, 2011, from Protect This House :


Teresa Vetter, Annapolis, MD “Tessemae’s All Natural” Dressing

Teresa Vetter is a Pilate’s instructor and the mother of 3 lacrosse players. Two of her sons play major league lacrosse for the Bayhawks and the youngest son plays for Towson.  When the boys were younger, she was always trying to prepare healthy meals for her family. Getting her boys to eat their salads was a challenge, so over the years she began enticing them with homemade dressings. Over dinner one evening in 2009, her eldest son Greg told his mother that he wanted to sell her dressing. Greg has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business. The whole family readily agreed to pursue the business venture together. “Tessemae’s All Natural” was to become a reality.

Greg took the responsibility to acquire the necessary paperwork. They formed an LLC, received an employer ID number and gained approval for a loan. To make the dressing, the Vetter’s needed a certified restaurant kitchen. The owner of Adam’s Ribs in Eastport agreed to let them use his kitchen after the restaurant closed in the evening. This worked out well with the Vetter’s busy schedule. Adam’s Ribs now even offers Tessemae’s as the house dressing.

Whole Foods at Annapolis Towne Centre was planning to open and agreed to sell their dressing. At the grand opening, the Vetter’s offered samples served over fresh spinach. Within 90 minutes, they sold out of all of their cases.

Since the beginning in 2009, “Tessemae’s All Natural” is now sold at numerous Whole Foods, has a blog site and can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

The Vetter’s admit there have been obstacles along the way. One such task was to create a label and find a glass bottle manufacturer. One time the bottles did not arrive on time and they quickly had to find another manufacturer. The label didn’t fit the new bottles so another label had to be created right away. Working late into the night is exhausting, but the family appears to be very upbeat, driven and focused.

Starting a business in their hometown is a key component to their success. Teresa works in a health club. The boys have attended local schools, gone to college in Baltimore and gained wide spread recognition in lacrosse. These have all been great opportunities for socializing and networking.

Since I was working on this project, I felt I had better purchase a bottle for myself. I found it in the chilled section of the produce department. The label was interesting and printed with Teresa’s story and I liked how the lid was sealed with wax. So far, I have tried the dressing over salad as well as with grilled asparagus. It’s delicious.  There are also some interesting recipes for chicken and rockfish.

I enjoyed researching the history of “Tessemae’s All Natural”. It’s a “feel good” and “taste good” story. I wish the Vetter’s much success.

Submitted by: Jane Gilleland


Sauers, Elisha. “Annapolis Sons Take Mom’s Salad Dressing to Grocery Store”. 
      Capital (Annapolis) 2 June 2009. Hometown Annapolis. Web. 22 March 2011.